David Gilroy has been found guilty of murdering Suzanne Pilley, who went missing in May 2010.

The 49-year-old had denied murdering the office worker in Thistle Street, Edinburgh, or elsewhere in Scotland, by unknown means on May 4, 2010. Ms Pilley’s body has never been found.

The jury of eight men and seven women began considering their verdict on Tuesday afternoon and took eight hours in total to reach their verdict on the 19th day of the trial.

Gilroy, from the Silverknowes area of Edinburgh, also denied attempting to defeat the ends of justice between May 4 and May 6, 2010, by concealing 38-year-old Ms Pilley's body and transporting it to various locations in Scotland in the boot of a car.

On Monday, the jury heard the prosecution allege Gilroy killed Ms Pilley in the basement of their work building.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said the Crown case ws that she was then placed in the boot of his car and driven to a "lonely grave" in Argyll.

Gilroy stared straight ahead as the guilty verdicts were delivered. As he was led away to the cells, he nodded to certain members of the public gallery. Gilroy will be sentenced on April 18 at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Ms Pilley's parents, Sylvia and Robert, were present in court to see the jury's verdict delivered. Mrs Pilley wept as the verdict on the first charge - the charge of murder - was announced.

In a statement issued through Lothian and Borders Police, Ms Pilley's parents said: "This day has been a long time coming but finally Suzanne has received the justice she deserved.

"As a family we continue to struggle to come to terms with losing her: we have lost our daughter but her memory lives on in everyone who knew her. Suzanne was a devoted daughter, a supportive friend and an exemplary colleague at work.

"She was a proud Scot who led a full and active life, and enjoyed the great outdoors, always walking, cycling and keeping fit. We have been met with nothing but kindness from her many friends during this time of great sorrow.

"We would like to express our gratitude to every police officer involved in the investigation and to Alex Prentice and his team for their efforts in bringing this case to a conclusion today. Although the trial has ended, our ordeal goes on, and we hope that one day we can lay our daughter to rest."

For Ms Pilley, May 4 2010 should have been a routine day. She boarded the buses she normally took from her Whitson Road flat to her work at Infrastructure Managers Limited (IML) in Edinburgh's Thistle Street, where she had worked for about two years.

She was even spotted on CCTV buying food for the day at the nearby Sainsbury's store. But although her office was just a short walk away, she did not turn up for work that day - something her colleagues found unusual.

Piecing together why the divorcee would vanish in a city centre in the busiest part of the day, and where she could have gone, sparked a high-profile missing person inquiry and one of the most challenging investigations carried out by Lothian and Borders Police.

Her life appeared to have been interrupted suddenly. She had vanished and made no contact with relatives, there had been no activity on her credit cards and she had not made any arrangements for her pet cat to be fed.

Despite extensive searches, her remains have not been found. As time went on, the finger of suspicion pointed towards Gilroy.

Prosecutors said Ms Pilley was killed by him on the day she vanished in the basement of the Thistle Street building where they both worked and then abandoned in a "lonely grave", thought to be in Argyll.

The case presented against Gilroy in court was an entirely circumstantial one but each strand led to a "compelling and convincing" case against him, proescutors said.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the jury: "The Crown case is that Suzanne Pilley met David Gilroy on that morning; that they went to the basement in the building together, quite possibly with the consent of both, that he killed her, he placed her body in the recess, he got his car from home, brought it to the garage, placed her dead body in the boot, took her home and next day transported her to a lonely grave somewhere in Argyll, where she is now."

The conviction was sealed in the absence of a body and without any direct witness evidence.

Evidence presented to the jury painted a picture of Gilroy as a deceitful, controlling individual, motivated by jealousy and driven to kill when Ms Pilley told him their relationship was over.

Gilroy denied every charge against him. But the evidence revealed a chain of bizarre behaviour by him, before and after Ms Pilley's death, which exposed his guilt and revealed the calculated steps he took to cover up his crime and maintain a front of normality.

In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Gilroy pestered Ms Pilley with more than 400 text messages. But as soon as she went missing, those messages stopped.
Work colleagues spotted him looking "agitated", "shaking" and "in shock" on the morning she disappeared.

The court heard that a dog specially trained to look for bodies found three areas of interest in the garage of the building where Ms Pilley and Gilroy had both worked. Despite the search, there was no forensic evidence found linking Gilroy or Ms Pilley to the garage or basement of the Thistle Street building.

The dog also showed interest in the boot of Gilroy's silver car, which was said to have had a smell of cleaning fluid or air freshener.

Gilroy had scratches on his body around the time Ms Pilley vanished, which could have been caused by fingernails during a struggle. The court also heard that a flesh-coloured substance might have been used to cover an injury.

Gilroy's Vauxhall Vectra was spotted on CCTV travelling between Edinburgh and Lochgilphead, Argyll, the day after Ms Pilley disappeared.

The court heard that there were "numerous opportunities" on the route between Tyndrum and Inverary - an area of remote hillsides and forestation - to hide something.

Ms Pilley's mother said her daughter and Gilroy became lovers after married Gilroy split from his wife. He even moved into Ms Pilley's flat in mid-2009.

Ms Pilley believed she would find a permanent partnership with Gilroy but it was a "turbulent" relationship and she soon tired of his "lies" and strange behaviour.

By spring 2010, Ms Pilley was single, wanted to meet someone new and had started internet dating. The day before she vanished, she spent the night with a man she had recently met online, 41-year-old planning officer Mark Brooks.

Suzanne "seemed happy" when he last saw her on the morning she disappeared. Mark Brooks said she cancelled a planned meeting with him a few days before and texted him to say Gilroy had appeared as she was leaving and they had gotten into an argument.

The message read: "At least, if anything, I managed to drum through to David that it is over and to leave me alone."

The pair met up the next day, on Monday May 3, he cooked her a meal and she stayed over. He said he dropped her off near her flat on the morning of Tuesday May 4.

"She waved and she seemed very happy. She was happy all weekend. That was the last time I saw her," said Mr Brooks.

The 38-year-old was planning ahead before her life was brought to an abrupt end.
Colleagues said she was part of a relay team for the Edinburgh marathon to be held later that month.

She had a pet cat, Mercury, and tropical fish, and it was out of character for her not to make arrangements for them to be cared for if she was going to be away. She was planning to go to see a film and the last text she sent was to her father asking to borrow his phone for a cinema discount code he had.

On the morning of May 4, her mother received a text message, saying: "I think Mark likes me. Take it slow."

Ms Pilley carried out her routine journey to work and CCTV showed her arriving in the city centre. But she never turned up at her desk in the offices of Infrastructure Managers Limited, where she had worked as a bookkeeper for two years.

For her parents, the torment of not knowing what happened to their daughter continues despite today's guilty verdict as they have never been able to put her to rest.

Prosecutors faced an unusual and complex case to piece together without a body or direct eye witness evidence.

Stephen McGowan, district procurator fiscal for Edinburgh, said: "Having said it's a complex case to pull together, with numerous statements and productions and experts, the case ultimately against David Gilroy and the evidence against him is devastatingly simple."

That case is that he went to the basement of the Thistle Street office, killed her there, placed her body in a recess in the car park, went home to get his car on a pretence, brought it back and then spent his lunch hour buying some air freshener.

He then put her body in the boot, took her home and the next day took her to Argyll and put the body somewhere. Prosecutors say on the evening she was reported missing, Gilroy went to a school show and then had a family meal on Leith Walk.

The next day he drove his car back to Thistle Street before setting off on his journey to Lochgilphead.

Mr McGowan added: "The disappearance of Suzanne and the anguish it's caused her family and friends has been unimaginable, and it's been at the forefront of our minds throughout this.

"David Gilroy, through the evidence, is shown to be a deceitful, controlling individual. He pestered Suzanne with hundreds of text messages and then he kills her when she tells him that the relationship they had is over. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the calculated steps that he takes to cover up the crime and maintain a front of normality shows a real cold personality."