Killer David Gilroy in £230k legal aid bill

David Gilroy. Picture: Jon Savage
David Gilroy. Picture: Jon Savage
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MURDERER David Gilroy has racked up a legal aid bill of more than £230,000 by refusing to admit to killing former lover Suzanne Pilley.

New figures show the killer has cost taxpayers a fortune by continuing to protest his innocence over the book-keeper’s disappearance.

Gilroy, 51, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Suzanne, 38, from Edinburgh, and disposing of her body, which has never been found.

He put her family through a 17-day trial and has since launched several appeal attempts which have been rejected.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) have disclosed that a total of £233,033 has been paid for Gilroy’s defence in the trial and his subsequent appeals.

The cash was paid in relation to legal aid incurred by his counsel and solicitors and for solicitors’ outlays.

John Lamont MSP, the Scottish Conservatives chief whip, said: “The public will be sickened to see a convicted murderer able to extract so much money from the taxpayer.

“The legal aid process was not designed to be abused by people who simply refuse to admit their guilt.

“It was bad enough that he put his victim’s family through the ordeal of a trial, but people will be also be disgusted he has done so at such incredible public expense.”

Gilroy was found guilty in April 2012 of murdering Suzanne after she disappeared in May 2010 and sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

She was last seen when making her way to work on Thistle Street in Edinburgh.

In December 2012 an appeal by Gilroy was heard and rejected by judges in Edinburgh.

He has since launched two unsuccessful attempts to have the case heard in the Supreme Court in London.

As well as the legal aid costs, the police probe into Suzanne’s disappearance cost almost £340,000.

The investigation included a major search, involving sniffer dogs, of remote woodlands in Argyll where it was suspected she had been buried.

Married Gilroy has protested his innocence since the day Suzanne vanished from the Edinburgh city centre business premises where she worked alongside him.

Judge Lord Bracadale told Gilroy when he was convicted that he hoped he would one day say where he abandoned the victim’s body.

Gilroy’s case made legal history when he became the first convicted killer to have his sentencing filmed for British TV though the camera focused only on the judge.

A spokesman for Scottish Legal Aid Board: “An important part of the Scottish justice system is that those who cannot afford their own defence have access to do so. Only a relatively small number of criminal cases involve very high costs and the average cost of summary criminal cases is £660.

“Decisions to grant legal aid are based on legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament.

“We must apply this legislation to assess if somebody is eligible for criminal legal aid. We assess all solicitor and advocate accounts so that we only pay for work actually and reasonably done, with due regard to economy.

“While certain high profile cases attract attention, legal aid helps large numbers of often vulnerable people get access to justice.”