• STV
  • MySTV

Murder accused 'incapable' of killing Margaret Fleming

Edward Cairney insisted the missing woman was alive the last time he saw her.

Margaret Fleming: Cariney allegedly murdered her.
Margaret Fleming: Cariney allegedly murdered her.

A pensioner accused of killing missing Margaret Fleming has claimed he is "incapable" of her murder.

Edward Cairney insisted Fleming was alive the last time he saw her - and that he never "harmed" her.

Cairney also said it was "tripe" he told police probing Margaret's whereabouts that the case would "end up in a murder charge".

The 77-year-old is on trial with 59-year-old Avril Jones at the High Court in Glasgow.

They deny murdering Ms Fleming at their house in Seacroft, Inverkip, between December 18, 1999, and January 5, 2000.

Ms Fleming, who would now be 38, has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

Jurors have heard how Cariney and Jones became carers for her when her father died in October 1995.

Ms Fleming was a teenager at the time.

Cairney told jurors he believed "a girl's place was with her mum" - but that she wanted to stay with him and Jones.

The retired marine engineer recalled Ms Fleming went missing in early 2000.

Cairney said: "This was the first time she had gone and not come back after several hours."

'This was the first time she had gone and not come back after several hours.'
Edward Cairney

He and Jones went to London to try and find her. They believed Ms Fleming had gone to visit the Milennium Dome.

The pair came back to Scotland without her - before Cairney claimed Ms Fleming returned around a week later.

He believed she had gone to London with a woman associated to local travellers.

Cairney's QC Thomas Ross then asked what the "position" was with Ms Fleming from then until 2016 when police appeared at his house.

He replied: "She would come and go. 

"She would come back if she needed money."

Cairney said he once bought a £20,000 van for Ms Fleming and a reported house-breaker she had "befriended".

Mr Ross then quizzed the OAP on police turning up at his home in October 2016.

Cairney said he and Ms Fleming had been returning to Inverkip from Wemyss Bay at the time.

Mr Ross: "You could see the police lights?"

Cairney replied: "Yes, Margaret got highly upset. 

"I was saying 'police are not here for you' - but she was sure of it."

He said they entered the kitchen of house and noticed officers already there.

Police: A major investigation was launched.
Police: A major investigation was launched. Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Cairney said: "At first, I did not understand the gravity of what was going on.

"I went back into the kitchen to get Margaret, but I knew she would be gone.

"They were screaming: 'Where is Margaret Fleming?'"

The OAP said he told officers Ms Fleming was "away" and tried to tell them where she may have gone.

But, he claimed: "It was like talking to zombies."

The trial earlier heard an allegation that Cairney said at that time: "This is going to end up in a murder charge".

Asked did he recall saying that, Cairney replied: "No - it's tripe."

The court heard claims Cairney then met Ms Fleming in London in 2017. 

He said he told Ms Fleming police were looking for her and that they were "holding us to ransom".

Cairney insisted that was the last he saw Ms Fleming. He was later detained by police.

His QC Mr Ross asked him: "Have you ever harmed Margaret?"

Cairney replied: "No, I certainly have not. I am incapable of harming a lady... just cannot do that."

Jurors also heard again of interviews he gave to journalist Russell Findlay and BBC Scotland reporter Suzanne Allan before he was held.

Among several claims, Cairney said Ms Fleming had became a "gangmaster" and was also "buying and selling" drugs.

Cairney said he was telling the "truth" in the interviews and was also asked about claims made by ex-fireman Paul Neeson during the trial.

Mr Neeson said he once smelled burning human flesh from a bonfire at Cairney's home.

The trial continues.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.