Man accused of murdering wife who disappeared in 1984 to face trial

Marion Hodge was declared legally dead by the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1992.

Man accused of murdering his wife Marion Hodge who disappeared in 1984 to face trial Police ScotlandiStock

A trial has been set for a man accused of murdering his wife who disappeared in 1984.

William Hodge, 78, is alleged to have killed Marion Hodge, then 34, in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway.

Court papers state Hodge caused Marion an injury by ‘means unknown to the prosecutor’.

Hodge faces a separate charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing Marion’s body and personal effects.

The mother-of-two was declared legally dead by the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1992. Her body has never been found.

A second virtual hearing for the case took place on Wednesday at the High Court in Glasgow.

Judge Lord Mulholland was allocated the matter as the trial judge.

No plea was entered by defence counsel Michael Anderson KC while his client, who lives in a care home in Bristol, was awaiting a second psychological report.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice KC said: “The background is that Mr Hodge has never appeared on petition and is not on bail.

“The decision was taken due to his medical condition.

“It is a large case with 484 witnesses being interviewed which produced 769 witness statements.

“As a consequence, the Crown decided to proceed with the indictment.”

“It seems likely that this will result in an examination of facts but that is yet to be determined.”

Mr Prentice stated that professor Gary McPherson has been appointed to undertake the work of a second report.

The advocate added: “Everything is in hand and I don’t see any difficulty proceeding to a hearing if it is a trial or an examination of facts.”

Mr Anderson told the hearing that he will visit Hodge at his care home on two different days in August.

He said: “Given what is contained in the Crown report, an examination of facts might be the final destination of this case.”

The hearing was also told that there was an investigation into the matter in 1984 and a reinvestigation in 2006 when there was no further action taken.

The matter was then looked at again in 2021 which has resulted in the current prosecution.

Judge Mulholland fixed a trial date in March next year the High Court in Glasgow lasting six days. A further virtual hearing was set for October.

He said: “It is important to get a trial date in the diary whether this is a trial or an examination of facts which will be determined in due course.

“For the public record, I have no memory of having dealt with this case at any stage and if that changes then the advocate depute will let me know.”

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