Murder accused 'told police Margaret Fleming is still alive'
Jury hears police interview with Avril Jones after she was detained at Glasgow Central station.
A woman accused of murdering missing Margaret Fleming told police she is still alive during a taped interview.
Avril Jones, 59, is on trial with Edward Cairney, 77, at the High Court in Glasgow accused of murdering Ms Fleming at Seacroft, Main Road, Inverkip, Inverclyde, between December 18, 1999 and January 5, 2000.
The jury was told that both accused were detained at Glasgow Central station on October 25, 2017 and interviewed separately the following day at Govan Police Station.
Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC asked Detective Constable Gerard Hawkes, one of the officers who conducted the interview with Fleming: "You ask if Margaret killed herself and the answer was a clear 'no'?"
The police officer replied: "Yes."
Jones was asked if she knew what happened to Margaret and said: "She's alive."
Jones was then asked if she or Cairney had disposed of the body and said: "Dear God, no."
A police investigation was sparked in October 2016 after a benefits claim submitted by Jones on Margaret's behalf raised concerns.
Margaret, who would now be 38, has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.
After Margaret's father died in October 1995, her mother could not cope so Cairney and Jones looked after her.
When asked about Margaret's benefits money, Jones told the police: "I didn't take the money. I gave it to her."
Ian Duguid QC, representing Jones, asked DC Hawkes about a suggestion made that she was "up to her neck in it".
The QC said: "It was suggested that she was up to her neck for a murder for which no body has ever been found, the way she died is unknown and place and time is unknown and the hand of any assailant is unknown is that correct."
DC Hawkes said: "Yes."
In his police interview, Cairney said that, earlier in the inquiry, he had told police Margaret was at Centrepoint in London and they had missed their chance to find her.
Cairney added: "You missed her. You blew it."
Mr McSporran asked Detective Constable David Barr, who conducted the interview with Cairney: "Mr Cairney said Margaret wasn't right in the head and said you could just tell by looking at her that she's backwards?"
He replied: "Yes."
Cairne yand Jones are accused of defrauding £182,000 in benefits and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by claiming Margaret was alive.
They deny all the charges against them and the trial continues.