Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming murder trial collapses but new hearing may go ahead

Margaret Fleming
Image caption Margaret Fleming was reported missing in October 2016

The trial of a couple accused of murdering missing woman Margaret Fleming has collapsed at the High Court in Glasgow.

The jury was told the trial would have to be deserted now because a number of matters had arisen but it would probably proceed in the future.

Margaret Fleming was reported missing in 2016, and it was alleged she had not been seen for 18 years before that.

Eddie Cairney and Avril Jones have denied all the charges against them.

The couple, who were Ms Fleming's carers at the house they shared at Inverkip, Inverclyde, had both pleaded not guilty to murdering her by means unknown and fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending she was alive.

The trial was in its third week.

Judge Lord Matthews said: "I will desert the trial pro loco et tempore. As a result of circumstances we can't proceed. It is highly unfortunate all this has arisen."

No explanation was given in court for the decision, but Lord Matthews said that it was no fault of either the prosecution or defence counsel.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC said: "I move for the trial to be deserted and for a fresh preliminary hearing and fresh trial to be set. I also think a brand new indictment."

Defence QC Thomas Ross applied for bail for his client Eddie Cairney, and this will be decided on Friday.

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