Suzanne Pilley’s former husband reveals his grief

Suzanne's family at court yesterday

Suzanne's family at court yesterday

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SUZANNE Pilley’s ex- husband today told how he hoped David Gilroy would die an “old man in jail” but said he feared he would never do the “decent thing” and reveal her last resting place.

Peter Durrand, who was with Ms Pilley for seven years, said he believed the convicted killer would become “another Luke Mitchell” who maintains his innocence and files an “endless” barrage of appeals.

The 49-year-old spoke out as Ms Pilley’s family told of their continuing ordeal at being unable to lay her to rest.

Ms Pilley’s parents, Rob and Sylvia, bravely sat through the three-and-a-half-week trial, determined to see justice done for their daughter.

Along with Ms Pilley’s older sister Gail, the tight-knit Stenhouse family have now asked for privacy as they deal with the aftermath of the trial.

“We have lost our daughter but her memory lives on in everyone who knew her,” they said.

Mr Durrand said he feared the peace which the family may find in the recovery of his ex-wife’s remains may never come.

He told the Evening News: “If Gilroy was to die in prison as an old man then I would be more than happy.

“A lot of people have asked me whether they think he will say where Suzanne is buried but I don’t think he will. That would be the decent thing to do but he’s not a decent man. I don’t think he’ll give Suzanne’s parents that.

“I could see him being another Luke Mitchell who never admits his guilt and just files endless appeals to try and get out.”

Mr Durrand, a service engineer who lives in Inverkeithing, told how he and Suzanne had been long-time friends before deciding to marry. However, their marriage ended in 2006 and they divorced in 2008.

Mr Durrand remained in friendly contact with Ms Pilley to the extent that she even told him about a new relationship with another man. That man turned out to be Gilroy.

He said: “I last saw Suzanne about a year before she went missing. She mentioned that she had started seeing someone but she never said who it was.

“I was a bit surprised she got involved with someone who was married because that wasn’t the kind of thing she would do.

“But I can see how Suzanne might have been involved in quite an intense relationship. She tended to buy right into things. When something came up which she wanted, she would be committed to it.

“I think she wanted someone to have children with. We had discussed it when we were together.

“We had been friends for a number of years before we became involved. We met through mutual friends but whenever we met up one of us was in a relationship. Then in 1999 we met and we were both single and that is how we started out.

“We were married in Las Vegas in 2004 after five years together. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. We had looked into getting married abroad, perhaps somewhere in the Mediterranean, but we ended up going for Vegas.

“When we broke up I think we had just let our relationship get stale. We were both disappointed but we just drifted apart.”

The couple may have drifted apart, but Ms Pilley, who would have turned 40 in March 2, would never drift far from her family in west Edinburgh.

She went straight into work after leaving Tynecastle High School and continued to live in the area.

Mr Durrand said: “Suzanne never went to college or did a degree and she was always proud she had managed to be successful in bookkeeping without that. She was pleased to do it the hard way.”

He added: “Suzanne had lots of hobbies. She loved the outdoors and going for walks. She also loved reading, everything from Harry Potter to various histories. She was a member of different book clubs.

“Music was another passion and she was willing to give anything a listen to try it out so she had wide tastes. She liked going to festivals and gigs.”

Recalling the day he learned Ms Pilley was missing, he said: “It was a friend of mine who told me he had seen it on the news. He gave me a call while I was at work. Then later the police came to interview me about it when they said it was still a missing person case.

“I knew it was totally out of character for Suzanne to disappear like that. She would always call if she was going to be late or anything.”

That call would inevitably be to her 69-year-old mother Sylvia. She texted her on the morning of her disappearance thanking her for feeding her cat.

When there was no further contact, it was clear something was very wrong.

Today Ms Pilley’s family have at least part of the answer they so desperately need, but their search for what exactly happened to their loving daughter continues.

In a dignified statement outside court, they said: “This day has been a long time coming but finally Suzanne has received the justice she deserved.

“As a family we continue to struggle to come to terms with losing her: we have lost our daughter but her memory lives on in everyone who knew her.

“Suzanne was a devoted daughter, a supportive friend and an exemplary colleague. She was a proud Scot who led a full and active life, and enjoyed the great outdoors, always walking, cycling and keeping fit.

“We have been met with nothing but kindness from her many friends during this time of great sorrow.

“We would like to express our gratitude to every police officer involved in the investigation and to [prosecutor] Alex Prentice and his team for their efforts.

“Although the trial has ended, our ordeal goes on, and we hope that one day we can lay our daughter to rest.”