Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming trial: No phone link to missing woman

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

A former police intelligence analyst found no evidence of phone calls or texts between missing Margaret Fleming and the carers accused of her murder.

Corinne Russell was giving evidence at the trial of Edward Cairney, 77, and 58-year-old Avril Jones.

Police were alerted on 28 October, 2016, after a benefits claim submitted by Ms Jones on Margaret's behalf raised concerns about her well-being.

Mr Cairney and Ms Jones deny murdering Margaret at Seacroft, Inverkip.

The crime is said to have taken place December 1999 and January 2000.

Margaret, who would now be 38, has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

Phone analysis

Ms Russell told prosecutor Iain McSporran QC that she examined data from mobile phones belonging to Mr Cairney and Ms Jones and also looked at calls to their landline at Seacroft.

In total she examined 594 calls and texts.

The jury heard the analysis was carried out as Mr Cairney suggested to police that he had been phoned by Miss Fleming.

Mr McSporran asked the witness: "Is your conclusion that data for all phone numbers attributed to Avril Jones and Edward Cairney has been analysed and none can be attributed to Margaret Fleming?"

Ms Russell answered: "Yes."

Defence QC Thomas Ross asked the witness if it was possible that Mr Cairney had used someone else's phone to contact Margaret or that Margaret had used someone else's phone.

The witness agreed.

Unattributed numbers

Mr Ross said: "You are not saying you can prove there were no phone calls, you are just saying you can't attribute any to Margaret Fleming?"

Ms Russell replied: "Yes."

The QC then told the court there were a number of mobile phones which could not be attributed to anyone.

When asked how many unattributed phones were found during the inquiry Miss Russell she said she could not remember but thought it was only a handful.

The analysis also showed that one number attributed to a caller had not been followed up by an interview to check the identity.

Ms Russell told the court that the interviews were the responsibility of the police.

Mr Cairney and Ms Jones are accused of defrauding £182,000 in benefits and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by claiming Margaret was alive.

The trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.

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