Taxpayers could be faced with a legal bill running into tens of thousands of pounds after killer David Gilroy moved to take his appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
Gilroy, 50, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of his former lover, Suzanne Pilley, 38.
Earlier this year, an application to the Scottish courts to take his appeal to the Supreme Court in London was denied.
Now his legal team have launched a bid to bypass the Scottish courts system and take the case straight to London.
The Supreme Court in London this week confirmed that a direct appeal had been brought to them by Gilroy’s legal team.
The Legal Aid Board has already paid more than £16,000 towards appeals against Gilroy’s conviction, and say future appeals will be considered.
Gilroy was found guilty of murdering Ms Pilley after she disappeared in May 2010. She was last seen when making her way to work on Thistle Street in the Capital.
The conviction of Gilroy was hailed as a landmark case, as Ms Pilley’s body has never been found. The evidence used to convict him included pictures of scratches on his hands, which he had tried to cover up with make-up, and a voicemail message pleading with her to meet with him. Gilroy also had markings on his chest.
Gilroy has always denied killing his ex-lover and says that he has been wrongfully convicted. Previous appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Edinburgh have been rejected. Last week, Police Scotland confirmed that they would continue to search for Ms Pilley’s body.
A spokesman for the UK Supreme Court confirmed that an appeal had been received from Gilroy. He said: “There will be a hearing at the Supreme Court here in the near future.”
The Scottish Legal Aid Board, which has already supplied funding for previous appeals by Gilroy, confirmed that it will again consider providing assistance, but added any request would have to meet statutory tests.
Paul Kavanagh, director of criminal law at Gildeas Solicitors, said there were strict vetting procedures that are adopted by the justiciary within the Scottish appeal courts. On that basis, it is very rare for a frivolous appeal to proceed to a full hearing. Of those that are granted leave to appeal it is estimated only about ten per cent are successful.
A spokesman for campaign group Taxpayer said: “While justice needs to be done, these cases are becoming ridiculously expensive for hard-working Scots”.