THE former husband of tragic bookkeeper Suzanne Pilley said the family of her killer were showing a “bizarre” loyalty by continuing to insist he was innocent after he was jailed for murder.
Peter Durrand, who was with Ms Pilley for seven years, spoke out after David Gilroy was sentenced to life in prison yesterday with a minimum term of 18 years.
The 49-year-old said that the whereabouts of his former wife’s body remained paramount in the thoughts of family and friends.
Mr Durrand said he hoped that 49-year-old Gilroy would one day reveal Ms Pilley’s resting place to end the torment suffered by her parents, Sylvia and Rob.
Gilroy showed no emotion as he was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh for the murder of Ms Pilley, below, at their workplace in the city centre’s Thistle Street on May 4, 2010.
Mr Durrand said: “The consensus of opinion from friends was that Gilroy would get around 18 to 20 years. It’s perhaps a little bit on the lower side, but overall it was OK. Obviously, the main thing in our minds is still the question of where Suzanne is. We want to know, particularly for her parents. Maybe Gilroy will admit it one day, or maybe he’ll blab to a cell-mate, but he doesn’t seem like the type.
“The 18-year sentence is a minimum before he can request parole so there’s no telling that it would be granted. Even if it’s granted at the earliest date, he will be 67 when he gets out.”
Mr Durrand, who lives in Inverkeithing, had been long-time friends with Ms Pilley, left, before they decided to marry. However, their marriage ended in 2006 and they divorced in 2008.
The engineer had never met Gilroy, of Silverknowes Brae, but was struck by the loyalty shown by his wife, Andrea, and other family members despite the guilty verdict. He said: “His family obviously still believe he’s innocent, which is bizarre. I would expect that Gilroy will appeal, but surely he would need some new evidence or proof of a mistake in court to succeed.”
The Gilroy family released a statement following sentencing. It read: “As we said on March 15, our family is devastated by the verdict. We continue to believe that David is not guilty of the charges of which he was convicted by a majority decision.
“At this stage, we will not be making any further statement regarding any aspect of the case and we ask the media to continue to respect our privacy.”
Ms Pilley’s family also released a statement after attending court yesterday to watch the sentencing. It said: “It gives us comfort to know justice has been done for Suzanne.
“As a family we will continue to try to move on, but we will never be able to rest completely until we know where our daughter is.”
Police officers are expected to talk to Gilroy again about the whereabouts of Ms Pilley and yesterday DS Gary Flannigan appealed for information.
JURY BOX TO TELEVISION BOX
THE sentencing of David Gilroy was the first to be shown on television after Scotland’s most senior judge agreed to a request from broadcasters.
An STV camera, in the jury box of Court Three at the High Court in Edinburgh, filmed the judge, Lord Bracadale, as he delivered the life sentence.
Austin Lafferty, vice-president of the Law Society of Scotland, predicted TV coverage could in future be extended to pictures of the accused and witnesses giving evidence.
But the decision to allow the sentencing to be shown on TV news programmes does not mean courts will be opened to cameras more often, the Scottish Court Service has said.
Elizabeth Cutting, its head of judicial communications, said each case would be assessed on its merits.
Gilroy was not filmed by the camera, and the footage was vetted before it was distributed to other TV outlets.
In another break from tradition, reporters covering the case were permitted to send Twitter reports from inside the court.