FOR Suzanne Pilley’s family, the guilty verdict will do little to ease the pain of not knowing her final fate.
Bereavement experts have told the Evening News that being robbed of the ability to even hold a funeral makes the grieving process even worse.
David Sinclair, head of communications for Victim Support Scotland, said: “Our experience is that for some families of victims of crime a verdict can give some closure.
“However, for a great deal of families a verdict determined by a court is only another step in a very lengthy process and indeed there are those who never find closure.”
He added: “In the rare cases where courts have returned a verdict of guilty without a body having been found clearly it’s more difficult for the victims’ families.”
Stewart Wilson, executive director of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, said: “What does seem to help the grieving process are the rituals around bereavement – and that of course is a funeral.
“A lot of people who work in the field would acknowledge that a funeral, and a chance to reflect on the life of the person that’s gone in a positive way, can actually help the grieving process and help the bereaved to move to the next stage.”
He added: “I think when somebody’s bereaved through murder there’s quite likely to be an element of trauma, which is a quite different process to grief and makes it quite hard to deal with the grieving process until the issues around the trauma aspect have been dealt with.
“I suppose there’s a bit of a double whammy here: murder is a very traumatic way to be bereaved and that in itself can impede healthy grieving process and the lack of the body and lack of normal rituals that go with that make it even worse.”