Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

David Gilroy jailed for murdering former lover Suzanne Pilley

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Media captionLord Bracadale: ''You... murdered her in a sustained attack''

An Edinburgh man who murdered a colleague after she ended their affair has been sentenced to life in prison.

David Gilroy, 49, must serve a minimum of 18 years in jail for killing 38-year-old bookkeeper Suzanne Pilley.

Gilroy, a married man, was found guilty of his former lover's murder last month. He denied the charge.

Ms Pilley sparked a major hunt when she disappeared in May 2010. She set off for work in Edinburgh, but never made it to her desk.

Prosecutors believe Gilroy killed her in the basement of the building where they worked in Thistle Street and buried her the next day more than 100 miles away in the forests of Argyll.

Passing sentence , Lord Bracadale said Gilroy was the only person who knew the whereabouts of Ms Pilley's body, which has never been found.

Suzanne Pilley
Image caption Suzanne Pilley's body has never been found

"I hope that the day will come in your life when you feel able to disclose that information and that may bring some comfort to her bereft family, particularly her mother and father who, after giving evidence, sat in quiet dignity throughout the rest of the trial," he said.

He said he accepted that the evidence did not point to Gilroy lying in wait for Ms Pilley, intending to kill her.

He said: "The evidence indicated that, having confronted her over her decision to end the relationship, you lost your temper and murdered her in a sustained attack."

Lord Bracadale also spoke of the "quite chilling calmness" with which Gilroy set about disposing of the body.

There were shouts of "rot" and "die" from the public gallery, with Gilroy being asked to "tell us where she is" as he was led away.

Gilroy showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

His wife, Andrea Gilroy, was not in court, but his father and brother were in the gallery.

David Gilroy
Image caption David Gilroy had a reputation of exaggerating his military achievements

In a rare move, the sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh was filmed to be broadcast on the same day.

Ms Pilley's father Rob Pilley has told BBC Scotland that the conviction of her killer had taken a "heavy load" off his shoulders.

The family issued a statement after the sentencing, saying: "We are relieved that the legal process has concluded, and it gives us comfort to know justice has been done for Suzanne.

"As a 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.

"Suzanne is sorely missed by everyone who knew her, and we would like to say once again how grateful we are for all the support we've had from her friends and colleagues in the past two years."

Det Supt Gary Flannigan said: "I note today's sentence, but once again our thoughts are very much with Suzanne's family, for whom the ordeal continues.

"Only one person actually knows where Suzanne is, and can bring an end to the uncertainty for all her family and friends.

Suzanne Pilley
Image caption Suzanne Pilley was previously married for four years to ex-husband, Peter Durrand

"Once again, I reiterate that Lothian and Borders Police remain committed to pursuing any new information which comes to light that could help recover Suzanne."

The trial had heard of the turbulent relationship between Gilroy and Ms Pilley, who had been seeing someone else in the days before her disappearance.

Gilroy was described in court as possessive and manipulative.

He had sent her more than 400 texts in the month before she went missing, but these stopped when she vanished.

The day after Ms Pilley went missing Gilroy drove from Edinburgh to Lochgilphead.

The police found he took two hours longer to get there than the average time, and the return journey was even longer.

Officers were convinced he had driven his car off road on that day, and found he had cuts and bruises on his hands and face.

Suzanne Pilley was previously married for four years to ex-husband, Peter Durrand. They married in Las Vegas in May 2004 before divorcing in 2008.

David Gilroy had a reputation of exaggerating his military achievements. He served as an engineer in the Royal Navy.

Suzanne Pilley: The Woman Who Vanished will be shown on BBC One Scotland on Wednesday 18 April at 22:45.

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