Pilley trial: Victim told accused to leave her alone

Mark Brooks revealed details of text messages sent to him by Suzanne

Mark Brooks revealed details of text messages sent to him by Suzanne

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MISSING bookkeeper Suzanne Pilley told the man accused of murdering her to “leave me alone” less than 48 hours before she was last seen alive, a court has heard.

The tragic 38-year-old said that David Gilroy turned up at her Saughton flat and an argument erupted between the pair as she told him their relationship was over.

Details of the altercation were revealed by Mark Brooks, who met Ms Pilley over an internet dating site, in a text he received from her the day before she vanished in the city centre.

Mr Brooks told the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday that he had last seen Ms Pilley on the morning she disappeared when he dropped her off at her Whitson Road home after they spent the night together.

The court heard earlier from Ms Pilley’s mother, Sylvia Pilley, who said that her daughter had been involved in a “turbulent” on/off relationship with Gilroy, 49, but had started seeing Mr Brooks in the weeks before she went missing on May 4, 2010.

She also recounted a time before Christmas 2009 when her daughter phoned her in tears saying Gilroy had started throwing her possessions out of the kitchen window of the second-floor flat they shared.

The court was also shown e-mails from Ms Pilley to Gilroy from around two weeks before her disappearance, saying she wanted “some sort of commitment but I don’t think you can”.

Mr Brooks, a planning officer with West Lothian Council, said he met Ms Pilley through an internet dating site called FitnessSingles.com in April 2010.

The 41-year-old told the court that they met for a first date at All Bar One on May 1, and later spent the night at Ms Pilley’s flat but did not have sex.

During that night, Ms Pilley had woken at around 3am frightened someone was outside the flat, Mr Brooks said, and he tried to calm her down.

Later that day, Ms Pilley cancelled a planned meal at Mr Brook’s home in Newington after sending a text message that read: “I’m sorry Mark. It’s complicated just now. I have a visitor. I can’t come out tonight. Sorry x.”

The court was shown a text message Ms Pilley sent to Mr Brooks the following day, May 3, 2010.

It read: “God oh mighty. I had such a rubbish night. David appeared as I was leavin. I asked him to go and he wouldn’t. I was arguing with him, askin him to leave. I cried when I sent that text to you cos I really wanted to come down and see you. At least if anything else I managed to drum thru to David that it is over and to leave me alone.”

Mr Brooks told the court that he felt Ms Pilley was in a “difficult romantic situation”, and decided to give her space.

But later that day, Ms Pilley called him and the pair arranged to have a meal at Mr Brooks’ flat.

He told the court: “We were joking and chatting. We ended up on the couch watching a film and we fell asleep.”

The following morning, Mr Brooks said he gave Ms Pilley a lift back to her home, and last saw her at about 6.50am on May 4, 2010. During the journey, Mr Brooks said: “She told me further details about her relationship with David Gilroy.”

Mr Brooks said she had waved him goodbye and “seemed very happy”. He said he sent a number of texts to Ms Pilley’s mobile over the next two days, which received no reply, before he was visited by police at 2am on May 6. Officers interviewed him and also searched his car.

Earlier, the court had heard evidence from Sylvia Pilley, 69, who gave evidence about her daughter’s relationship with Gilroy.

She told the court: “(Suzanne) was a bit confused about his attitude. She wanted to find someone to share her life. She did not want to spend it alone, the rest of her life. She thought she had found a permanent relationship with him, but he began to tell too many lies and changed arrangements.”

Mrs Pilley added: “It was always like a turbulent relationship. It was on and it was off.”

Mrs Pilley said that Gilroy had become “quite jealous” when her daughter bumped into an old school friend, while in summer 2009 she said that Ms Pilley told her that Gilroy had hidden her mobile phone for weeks.

She said her daughter later changed the locks at her flat, and added: “That was an incident before Christmas in 2009. He had went berserk and started throwing things out the kitchen window. She phoned me in tears.”

Mrs Pilley told the court that her daughter had talked about internet dating in the weeks before she disappeared, and had mentioned Mark Brooks, whom she had started seeing.

She added: “She wanted to meet somebody else. She felt she had wasted too much time with David Gilroy.”

Mrs Pilley said she had a good relationship with her daughter and kept in regular contact with her. She said she spoke to her on the phone on May 3, adding: “That was the last time I spoke to her.” She said: “She sounded quite happy but at the same time she had been having second thoughts about David Gilroy. Should she go back to him or not.”

Mrs Pilley said that about 8.30am on May 4 she received a text from her daughter in which she thanked her for feeding her pet cat, Mercury, and said: “I think Mark likes me”.

Her husband, Robert Pilley, 68, a retired HGV technician, gave evidence yesterday morning, saying that he went to his daughter’s flat at 4pm after she failed to turn up to work at Infrastructure Management Ltd in Thistle Street that morning.

Asked if anything appeared to be unusual or missing, he answered: “No.”

The Pilleys contacted police at around 6pm to report their daughter missing.

Pc Stewart Pringle told the court that he spoke to Ms Pilley’s work managers, who had found e-mails on her computer suggesting she had been involved in a relationship with her colleague, David Gilroy.

Gilroy, of Silverknowes Brae, has denied murdering Miss Pilley, whose body has never been found, on May 4, 2010.

The trial before Lord Bracadale was to continue today.

SUZANNE’S TEXTS AND E-MAILS

E-mail exchange between Ms Pilley and Gilroy on April 26, 2010:

Ms Pilley: “I’m sorry. Just want for you and us to make some sort of commitment but don’t think you can.”

Gilroy: “So what are you actually saying? Where does that leave things? Just want to know.”

Ms Pilley: “I just told you. COMMITMENT. We’re either seeing each other or we’re not . . . I’m not going anywhere till you tell me to leave.”

Text from Ms Pilley to Gilroy on Thursday, April 29, 2010:

“I said Saturday was best to go out. Don’t worry because we’re friends so not a problem. No plans for weekend, was going to make it up as I went along. xx.”

Text exchange between Ms Pilley and Gilroy on Friday, April 30, 2010:

Ms Pilley: “I’m nearly finished second bacon McMuffin. One is never enough”.

Gilroy: “Just have to work out over weekend. Plenty of gym sessions.”

Ms Pilley: “Hi there...Need to organise a date and head for the ocean”.

Text from Ms Pilley to Mark Brooks at 4.52pm on Sunday, May 2, 2010 after breaking a date:

“I’m sorry Mark. It’s complicated just now. I have a visitor. I can’t come out tonight. Sorry x.”

Text message from Ms Pilley to Mark Brooks on Monday, May 3, 2010:

“God oh mighty. I had such a rubbish night. David appeared as I was leavin. I asked him to go and he wouldn’t. I was arguing with him, askin him to leave. I cried when I sent that text to you cos I really wanted to come down and see you. At least if anything else I managed to drum thru to David that it is over and to leave me alone.”