Suzanne Pilley murder trial: Victim’s mother recalls meeting the accused

Suzanne Pilley
Suzanne Pilley
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A WOMAN told a jury today that her daughter had set up home with the man accused of murdering her, but that she was not to blame for the breakdown of his marriage.

Suzanne Pilley, 38, and David Gilroy, 49, worked in the same office in central Edinburgh and she took him to meet her family before he moved into her flat.

Sylvia Pilley, 69, said she saw Gilroy about half a dozen times, the first being the introduction prior to the couple’s living together.

Asked at the High Court in Edinburgh what she had understood Gilroy’s marital status to have been, Mrs Pilley stated: “He had left his wife and he was seeking a divorce. Suzanne was not the cause of the breakup.”

Gilroy, of Silverknowes Brae, Edinburgh, denies murdering Ms Pilley on 4 May, 2010, and hiding her body at their work before driving away with it in the boot of a car. Her remains have never been found.

A trial which is expected to last six weeks opened with evidence from Mrs Pilley. She explained that Suzanne was one of two daughters, and she identified her in a photograph displayed in court. She said the photograph was from a charity abseiling event at the Forth Road Bridge in 2007 or 2008.

Mrs Pilley said her daughter had been married in 2004, but divorced after about four years. She bought a flat in Whitson Road, Edinburgh, and worked as a bookkeeper at Infrastructure Management Ltd (IML) in Thistle Street.

She identified Gilroy in the dock, and said she first met him “before he moved in with Suzanne.”

She added: “He came up to the house...summertime 2009.”

After he moved in, she met him at Suzanne’s flat and when he came to Mrs Pilley’s home nearby.

Gilroy, 49, denies killing Ms Pilley and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Days before the alleged murder, Gilroy is said to have accessed Ms Pilley’s account with an internet dating website and to have read emails between her and others using the site.

The murder charge accuses him of assaulting Ms Pilley “by means unknown” and causing injury from which she died at Thistle Street.

It is then said that “being conscious of his guilt”, he embarked on an attempt to defeat the ends of justice. According to the indictment, he concealed Ms Pilley’s body within IML’s premises before transporting it to various locations in Scotland within the boot of a car.

Gilroy is accused of several acts on 4 May as part of the alleged cover up. They include:

• asking for a key to the basement area of the premises, and saying he needed to go into the plant room, when he had no legitimate reason to do so

• knowing she was dead, sending an email to Ms Pilley and another colleague, requesting they attend a meeting at a later date

• repeatedly visiting the basement and garage areas when he had no need to do so

• buying a quantity of air fresheners at Superdrug in Princes Street, Edinburgh.

The next day, Gilroy allegedly went to Lochgilphead by himself, when there was no need, and told colleagues he was attending the local high school to inspect the quality of sports pitches, knowing that the pitches had been inspected as recently as 29 April and 2 May. At the school, he said he was there to check ducting work at the sports centre, not to inspect pitches. Also, he asked for and was given a quantity of bin bags.

It is further claimed that Gilroy failed to travel directly from Lochgilphead to Corstorphine police station, Edinburgh after being requested to do so by the police who had said they wanted to speak to him immediately in relation to the disappearance of Ms Pilley.

Gilroy allegedly stated repeatedly to the police that he had ceased having a relationship with Ms Pilley in December 2009, when the truth was that the relationship had gone on and he had wanted it to continue further.

The Crown contend that Gilroy suffered injuries to his hands while committing the murder, and that on 7 May he tried to disguise the full extent of those injuries by applying make-up when his hands were to be examined and photographed by the police. And that he failed to wash and clean his hands properly after an officer instructed that to be done.

Apart from the charges relating to Ms Pilley, Gilroy is also accused of assaulting and threatening his wife, Andrea Gilroy, on various occasions in 2009 and up to 18 May, 2010.

In another assault charge, Gilroy allegedly swore at a man near Ms Pilley’s home, repeatedly challenged him to a fight and threatened to stab and kill him, and held a car key between his fingers and bradished it at the man.

The trial continues.