Suzanne Pilley's family appeal for help in finding body eight years after murder


The mother and sister of murdered Suzanne Pilley have appealed for help to end the torment of not knowing where her body is almost eight years on from her death.

Mother Sylvia and sister Gail voiced hope they can one day give her a funeral and the "dignity that every person deserves".

Ms Pilley, 38, disappeared on May 4 2010 after setting off on her usual journey to work in Thistle Street in Edinburgh city centre.

Colleague David Gilroy, now 55, was convicted of her murder in March 2012 and is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years behind bars.

The killer took her body in the boot of his car to a secret grave, believed to be in remote Argyll, but the location of her remains has never been found.

In a video released by Police Scotland, Suzanne's relatives told of the effect her murder has had on the family and appealed to the public for information just days after what would have been her 46th birthday.

Major searches for Suzanne have previously taken place (Danny Lawson/PA)
Major searches for Suzanne have previously taken place (Danny Lawson/PA)

Speaking publicly for the first time, her older sister Gail said: "Every time she's mentioned, you struggle with the fact she's not been found.

"It's hard to think about her because we just don't know where she is and that's the first thought that comes into your head when she's mentioned is just, 'where are you?'

"She wasn't treated with any dignity in her death, she was discarded and we just do not know where she is.

"That is just sometimes unbearable but we have to move forward and I would love to be able to just give her that funeral, that dignity that every person deserves, but unfortunately we can't do that."

Suzanne's mother Sylvia added: "I feel, and my husband feels, that it's as if she didn't matter, and she's gone and we can't do anything about it.

"We have to rely on the public if they're out and about in that area, maybe dog walkers, and we've been fortunate with the forestry workers who've been very good.

"Any position that looks as if it's been disturbed they notify the police, and we're very grateful for that because we hope that one day she will be found."

Suzanne's family attending court in 2012 (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Suzanne's family attending court in 2012 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The jury in Gilroy's trial heard how the "deceitful and controlling" killer was driven by jealousy, maintained a front of normality and embarked on a series of acts to cover up his crime.

The following day, he transported the book-keeper's body to Argyll before driving back to the capital.

Police believe her remains are hidden somewhere between Tyndrum and Inveraray, and say there are gaps of almost two hours on the outward journey and of around 90 minutes on the return journey in which they think he spent time hiding her body.

David Gilroy was convicted of Suzanne's murder  (Andrew Milligan/PA)
David Gilroy was convicted of murder (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Gilroy, who insists he is innocent, has exhausted various routes of appeal in his case.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, leading the probe to find Ms Pilley's body, said: "Considerable searches have been carried out in Argyll but have sadly turned up nothing.

"Whilst David Gilroy continues to maintain he is innocent, the only avenue left open at this time is a new piece of information from a member of the public.

"The gaps in Gilroy's journey, and the foliage and debris on his car, tell us that he went off-road somewhere near to the Rest and Be Thankful, so anyone who was in that area on May 5 2010 and could have seen or heard something that might be the missing link in our investigation.

"Equally, I would appeal to anyone who may be walking or camping in the Argyll forest and may notice anything unusual."

Police are also issuing an animated map of the routes Gilroy drove to help jog people's memories.