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Jury urged to convict carers of missing woman's murder

Edward Cairney and Avril Jones are alleged to have killed Margaret Fleming two decades ago.

Margaret Fleming: Has not been seen for 19 years.
Margaret Fleming: Has not been seen for 19 years. Police Handout

A prosecutor has urged a jury to convict a couple accused of murdering a missing woman.

Iain McSporran QC said Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, were involved in a "cover up" over the fate of Margaret Fleming.

The advocate depute claimed "greed, arrogance and lies" had led to a murder charge.

Cairney and Jones deny killing 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.

The trial has heard claims of where Ms Fleming may be - including Cairney stating she had left with travellers, but would return when she needed money.

Edward Cairney: Said Ms Fleming had left with travellers.
Edward Cairney: Said Ms Fleming had left with travellers. SWNS

Mr McSporran asked jurors why Ms Fleming had not contacted anyone since the case came to court.

He said: "If people were being put on trial for your murder you would have went on the phone to say: 'This is wrong - this is a mistake' - but there is silence."

The prosecutor also mentioned error-strewn letters apparently sent to the couple by Ms Fleming from London.

Jurors have heard how Ms Fleming had foundation level literacy.

Mr McSporran said: "The Crown say they were involved in a cover up and then writing letters. They were covering up what happened to Margaret's life.

"If you were going to fabricate a letter would you put it out beautifully or would you do it how someone with these difficulties would do it?

"You would put in spelling errors, no punctuation and you would want people to think this was the person she was like - backwards and slow."

Avril Jones: Said to have stolen Ms Fleming's benefits money.
Avril Jones: Said to have stolen Ms Fleming's benefits money. SWNS

Jones is also charged with benefit fraud by taking £182,000 that was to be paid to Ms Fleming as well as herself as her carer.

The court heard Ms Fleming never went to a 2012 check-up which prompted a visit by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Officials were, however, refused entry by Cairney.

Mr McSporran remarked: "That wouldn't have been a good idea because as of 2012 there was nothing of Margaret Fleming to be seen."

He added "chickens were about to come home to roost" as Jones applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which replaced the disabled living allowance in 2016.

After claims Ms Fleming was eating out the dog's bowl this prompted further investigation.

Mr McSporran said: "Jones asked where this was going even though she knew where this was going.

"If Avril Jones wasn't a liar, hadn't exaggerated what Margaret was suffering from and if the government didn't ask to apply this new benefit, no one will have discovered.

"Sheer greed and arrogance and getting away with it for years. Thank god for greed, arrogance and lies."

The trial continues.

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