THE Gilroy conviction was the first case in the Lothian and Borders force area to be secured without a body and is rare in Scottish legal history.

In one case in March 2010, a businessman who battered a friend to death with a metal bar was jailed after confessing to the crime during a drunken row with his wife.

Thomas Pryde, 38, killed lorry driver Adam Alexander at the victim's home in Errol, Perthshire, more than 10 years ago and then buried the body in nearby land. Pryde pled guilty to culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow even though the body has never been found.

In June 2010 Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan were jailed after strangling Allison McGarrigle in 1997 before sailing out to waters near their home in Largs, Ayrshire, and throwing over her remains.

O'Neill, 47, and Lauchlan, 33, killed her because she planned to report their abuse of a young boy.

When the 39-year-old was reported missing police did not believe she had been killed. It was only in 2005 that detectives declared the mother-of-three had been murdered despite a body having never been recovered.

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife is set to begin in April, 14 years after her disappearance.

Arlene Fraser, 33, vanished from her home in Elgin in April 1998 with no trace since then. Nat Fraser, 53, denies that he strangled or murdered her.