An independent inquiry is to probe the role of various agencies in the investigation surrounding the disappearance and murder of Margaret Fleming.

Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, were jailed for the vulnerable teenager’s murder at some point between December 1999 and January 2000, however her body has never been found.

Jurors found the couple murdered Ms Fleming by unknown means at their home in Inverkip, Inverclyde, or elsewhere in Scotland, and then tried to cover up the crime for almost 18 years.

READ MORE: Margaret Fleming 'carers' jailed for life with minimum of 14 years

Police launched an investigation after it became apparent in October 2016 Ms Fleming was missing.

Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership has now confirmed that Professor Jean MacLellan has been asked to head up a Significant Case Review at its first planning meeting next month.

It comes after a television documentary exploring the case aired this month.

Routine social services inquiries were said to have sparked concerns over her whereabouts.

It was claimed the last independent sighting of her was at a family event on December 17 1999.

HeraldScotland: Avril Jones and Edward Cairney were found guilty of Margaret's murder last year, but her body has never been found.Avril Jones and Edward Cairney were found guilty of Margaret's murder last year, but her body has never been found.

Her supposed carers were arrested in October 2017. Police searched the garden of the couple’s dilapidated house for Margaret’s body, but found no trace.

Jones was also convicted unanimously of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending Ms Fleming, who would now have been 38, was alive and the couple were both convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Prof MacLellan is the director of the Autism Network Scotland and has worked in a variety of roles in local authorities, health and the voluntary sector.

READ MORE: The story behind the Margaret Fleming case

As well as the council’s role, the probe will also investigate that of the department of work and pensions.

A council spokesman said: "This will be a full, independent inquiry which will involve all the agencies which were involved with Margaret during her life.

"A key area for the SCR team will be to uncover any lessons that are to be learned from the extensive cover-up carried out by Edward Cairney and Avril Jones to hide their appalling treatment of Margaret, while she was in their care, and the murder that they subsequently committed."