The sister of alleged murder victim Emma Faulds told a jury she knew something was wrong when she failed to answer her phone.
Miriam Faulds, 34, who works as a nurse in Abu Dhabi, said: “I got a feeling in my stomach that something was wrong.”
On Friday, she told the High Court in Glasgow she flew back to Scotland on May 1, 2019 and began helping in the search for her sister the next day.
Ms Faulds was giving evidence at the trial of Ross Willox, 41, who denies murdering 39-year-old Emma at his home at Fairfield Park, Monkton, Ayrshire, on April 28, 2019, by means unknown.
Prosecutors allege Willox dumped Emma’s naked body in Glentrool Forest, Dumfriesshire.
Ms Faulds was asked by prosecutor Paul Kearney: “During the searches with family and friends did you ever see Ross Willox?”
She replied: “Never, I thought that was strange. Why would he not be trying to find her.”
She told the jurors that Emma told her she was going to Willox’s home on April 28, 2019 and was “going to have a bit of a mad one”.
Defence QC Donald Findlay asked her: “You said she was going to be drinking, could there have been anything else?”
She replied: “Cocaine.”
A friend of Emma’s told the jury he became concerned when police broke into her home on April 30, 2019 and found her dog home alone.
Oil and gas worker Nicholas Wyper, 40, said he had been unable to contact her on April 29 or 30, 2019.
When he learned police had forced their way into her flat and found Westie Maverick on his own, he immediately left work and drove from Peterhead to Kilmarnock.
He told Mr Kearney: “Maverick was her baby. Maverick never got left himself ever.”
The court heard Maverick had undergone an operation on his cruciate ligament and Emma kept him in a cage while he was recuperating to stop him running about and jumping.
Mr Wyper said that he spent a fortnight helping with a campaign organised by family and friends to find Emma. Leaflets were distributed and appeals were made on Facebook.
He said he was also concerned that her BMW 1 Series was parked on the other side of the road from her flat.
Mr Wyper said: “It was more like abandoned.”
He told the court Emma had OCD and always parked her car right outside her flat.
Emma’s parents, Margaret, 70, and Ian, 70, who described their daughter’s phone as “an extension of her arm”, reported her missing on April 30, 2019 after she failed to turn up for her work at Kibble School in Paisley, Renfrewshire, and failed to answer texts and calls.
Emma’s last phone contact was with a friend at 8pm on April 28, 2019.
Lorna Boyle, 53, who worked with Emma, said they exchanged WhatsApp messages.
Mr Kearney asked her: “She WhatsApped you at 8pm and said she was at Ross’ house?”
Ms Boyle replied: “Yes.”
Ms Boyle said that Emma and Willox had been friends since working together at HMP Kilmarnock.
Mr Kearney asked: “Did she say if she was staying at Ross Willox’s house on Sunday, April 28, 2019?
She replied: “She was intending to stay over. They were intending to have a few drinks together.”
The court heard that after Emma was reported missing a massive police operation codenamed Operation Solzen got under way, which involved searching the Galloway Forest Park and surrounding areas.
Emma’s body was found in a remote area in Glentrool Forest on June 12, 2019, by a police officer and his cadaver dog.
Willox denies all the charges against him.
The trial before judge Lord Mulholland continues.
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