The disappearance of Suzanne Pilley prompted one of Scotland’s most complex murder hunts in recent years. Yet though her body has never been found suspicion soon fell on her former lover David Gilroy.
Jealous and controlling, Gilroy killed the popular office bookkeeper in a fit of rage in the basement of the workplace they shared in Edinburgh in May 2010. Gilroy continued to plead his innocence throughout the trial.
The regional operations manager was convicted on circumstantial evidence. Each part of the painstakingly investigated story fitted together convincing the jury after a four week trial last month that he had gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up his crime.
Colleagues quickly raised the alarm when Miss Pilley, 38, uncharacteristically failed to turn up at her desk. She had been embroiled in a turbulent affair with Gilroy since he had temporarily split from his wife. But her decision to end the relationship saw the manager unleash a sustained and murderous attack.
After killing her Gilroy, 49, returned home to collect his car hiding his victim’s body in the boot of the vehicle before carrying on with the normal business day.
He bought air freshener at lunch time, attended a school concert and a family dinner. The following day as Lothian and Borders Police began their search he drove 100 miles into remote countryside near Loch Lomond to hide her remains.
Police reconstructed the journey after scouring thousands of hours of CCTV footage from 250 locations which proved he had spent five hours driving on isolated roads in Argyll the day after she vanished.
In the run up to her disappearance Gilroy had bombarded Miss Pilley with 400 text messages – a campaign which ended abruptly when she went missing. He had also used make up to cover scratches on his body sustained during the fatal attack.
As he was led away to begin a minimum 18-year-sentence there were shouts of “tell us where she is” and “you rot” from the public gallery.
In a statement the Pilley family: “We will continue to try to move on but we will never be able to rest completely until we know where our daughter is.”