Inverclyde pair go on trial for abduction and murder of vulnerable woman
Two people have gone on trial accused of murdering a woman who has allegedly not been seen for more than 18 years.
Margaret Fleming (pictured) was reported missing in October 2016 from her home in Inverkip, Inverclyde, but it is claimed she has not been seen since December 1999.
Edward Cairney, 76, and Avril Jones, 58, are accused of her abduction and murder, and of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending she was still alive.
The couple, who deny all charges against them, went on trial before Lord Matthews at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday.
It is alleged Cairney and Jones abducted Ms Fleming at her home at Seacroft, Inverkip, locked her in a room, assaulted her, cut her hair and bound her arms and wrists with tape on various occasions between November 1, 1997 and January 5, 2000.
The pair are accused of murdering Ms Fleming, who would now be 37, by unknown means at some point between December 18, 1999 and January 5, 2000.
It is alleged that between December 18, 1999 and October 2016 they pretended to Department for Work and Pensions officials that Ms Fleming was alive, and claimed state benefits, obtaining £182,000 by fraud.
The pair also face two charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
It is alleged they disposed of, destroyed or concealed the remains and personal effects of Ms Fleming between December 18, 1999 and October 26, 2017.
They are also accused of trying to board a train to London at Glasgow Central Station on October 25, 2017 while carrying £3,500 and the keys to a safe deposit box at a bank in London which contained £27,000.
It is alleged they planned to travel and evade police and prosecutors.
Lord Matthews told the jury the trial could last eight weeks.
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