‘Tell us where she is’ plea to Margaret Fleming’s killers

Police appeal to find remains on what would have been murder victim's 39th birthday.

Appeal: Edward Cairney and Avril Jones murdered Margaret Fleming.
Appeal: Edward Cairney and Avril Jones murdered Margaret Fleming.

Police have appealed to the murderers of Margaret Fleming to reveal where they hid her body on what would have been her 39th birthday.

Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, killed Ms Fleming when they were supposed to be caring for her at their house in Seacroft, Inverkip, at some point between December 18, 1999, and January 5, 2000.

Ms Fleming, who had learning difficulties, has not been seen for more than 19 years and lived in “disgusting and uninhabitable” conditions when she stayed with her killers in Inverclyde.

The pair tied her up, cut her hair short and deprived her of food before eventually murdering her.

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In June, a jury of eight women and seven men at the High Court in Glasgow found the pair guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

Jones was also convicted of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending Ms Fleming was alive.

In July, they were both handed life sentences and ordered to serve at least 14 years before becoming eligible for parole.

On Friday, on what would have been Ms Fleming’s 39th birthday, detective superintendent Paul Livingstone appealed directly to her killers.

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He said: “I would like to appeal directly to Edward Cainey and Avril Jones, on what would have been Margaret’s 39th birthday.

“If you have a shred of decency, you will answer the questions Margaret’s family have to allow them to put her to rest.

“I have lodged formal requests with both lawyers, asking for information and reiterating an offer to meet me to discuss in person.

“Margaret was a very vulnerable young woman when she was abused, neglected, manipulated and murdered. It’s only right that her family and friends get the opportunity to pay their final respects.

“Whilst there has been a conviction for her murder and two people are in prison, it doesn’t mean that we will no longer act on information we receive about where her body is.

“It’s very important that she is given the funeral she deserves and for her family to be able to pay their respects to her.

“I would say again to Eddie Cairney and Avril Jones – your lies have caught up with you, so now do the decent thing and let Margaret’s family know what has happened to her.

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“If anyone has any information they think could help us to locate her body, please don’t hesitate to contact 101, or alternatively, anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers.”

Investigation: Police combed through the killers’ home. Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Police first launched an investigation in October 2016 after it became apparent Ms Fleming was missing.

Routine social services inquiries were said to have sparked concerns over her whereabouts.

It was claimed the last independent sighting of her was at a family event on December 17, 1999. Her supposed carers were arrested in October 2017.

Holding them jointly responsibility for the death, the Crown claimed Cairney and Jones “literally got away with murder for 16 years”.

As police zoned in on the couple, their fabricated stories to explain Ms Fleming’s absence became increasingly “farcical” as they tried to reconcile claims she was both working as a gangmaster and capable of travelling overseas, and that she was someone with major difficulties requiring a number of benefits.

During their sentencing hearing, Judge Lord Matthews told them: “You were convicted after trial of the murder of Margaret Fleming.

“Precisely how that was accomplished and any other circumstances was not disclosed in evidence and only you two know the truth. Only you two know where her remains are.

“That remains a source of immense grief as far as her mother is concerned. It seems obvious that the motive for the murder and cover up was financial.”


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