11 years on: The case police built against Suzanne Pilley's killer as detectives make fresh appeal to find body
Detectives say they will assess and act on any new piece of information they get from the public as part of a fresh appeal to find Suzanne Pilley’s body 11 years on from her murder.
David Gilroy, Ms Pilley’s former lover and work colleague, was convicted of her murder in 2012 and ordered to serve at least 18 years behind bars.
He is believed to have killed her in Edinburgh and hidden her body in the basement level of their Thistle Street office before driving to Argyll the next day to dump her body.
A detailed police investigation tracked his movements but the 38-year-old’s body has never been found - and Gilroy refuses to reveal the location of his victim.
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Ms Pilley’s family spoke last year - on the tenth anniversary of her death - of being unable to say a “proper goodbye” until she is found. Her father Rob died in February 2019 without ever knowing what happened to his daughter.
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Houliston, of the Major Investigation Team, said: "This is an especially difficult time of year for Suzanne’s family and our thoughts are with them.
“That Suzanne’s body has not yet been recovered is a source of great pain to her mother and sister. It’s a type of closure that, sadly, Suzanne’s father was denied.
"Any new information we receive in relation to this will be assessed and acted on appropriately. Once again, we’d urge anyone who may be able to help to contact Police Scotland on 101.”
Evidence for conviction
Suzanne Pilley was last seen on her way to work as a bookkeeper at the Infrastructure Managers Limited (IML) office in the Capital after leaving her Whitson Road home on May 4, 2010.
The 2012 trial heard how Gilroy lured his former lover to her death in the basement of the office where they both worked that day.
The couple had a “turbulent” relationship after getting together on a staff night out and Ms Pilley had tried to end the affair when she began seeing someone else shortly before her disappearance.
The court heard how Gilroy had sent Ms Pilley more than 400 texts in the month before she went missing - but these stopped when she vanished.
Gilroy is believed to have strangled 38-year-old Ms Philley and hidden her body in the basement level of their office while he returned home to get his car. After driving her body back home, police believe Gilroy drove back to the office with Ms Pilley’s body still in his car boot. In the hours after he killed Ms Pilley, Gilroy went to a presentation at his daughter’s school with his wife before going for a meal at Vittoria on Leith Walk.
The day after the murder, Gilroy pretended to be going on a site visit to a school in Lochgilphead. Police reconstructed Gilroy's trip to Argyll via CCTV and his mobile phone but there were gaps of several hours on both his outward and return journey between Lochgilphead and Inveraray, where officers believe he spent time hiding her body.
Vegetative matter found on his car, which also had three fractured coil springs, indicated it had been driven off-road.
Specially trained cadaver dogs, which can identify the smell of human remains, showed interest in the boot of Gilroy’s Vauxhall Vectra and areas of the garage at IML where he would have loaded Ms Pilley’s body into the vehicle.
Prosecutors also had to present evidence that Ms Pilley was dead to prove their case, and checks established she had not used her bank account, credit cards, passport or bus pass and had never contacted friends or family after May 4, 2010.
The complex murder inquiry saw police speak to nearly 1,500 potential witnesses and take 1,164 statements. Officers gathered 2,325 productions to use in evidence and obtained CCTV footage from 250 separate locations while 30 different areas in Argyll were subject to coordinated searches.
Gilroy, now 58, maintains his innocence and will not reveal where Ms Pilley’s body was hidden.
But the police case will never be closed until her remains are found.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross recently pledged to introduce a Victims Law, which would include Suzanne’s Law - named after Suzanne Pilley - as the first thing his party would do in the new parliament.
It would mean killers having to fully disclose what they have done with remains or staying locked up until they do.
Mr Ross said: "The horror of losing a loved one through violence is unimaginable but the suffering can be prolonged when a killer refuses to reveal the location of their victim.
"Our raft of measures would reset the imbalance in our criminal justice system, to ensure victims' rights are absolutely fundamental.
"While cases like Suzanne's are rare, they are so extreme that it is necessary to enact this law. No family should have to suffer in this way.”