September 25, 2019
He added: “That remains a source of immense grief as far as her mother is concerned. It seems obvious that the motive for the murder and cover up was financial. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Two carers who murdered a vulnerable teenager they were meant to be looking after almost two decades ago have been jailed for at least 14 years.Nineteen-year-old Margaret Fleming, who had learning difficulties, vanished around December 1999.She then appeared to have been forgotten for almost 17 years before being reported missing in 2016, as the result of a routine benefits check. Her body has never been found.Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday after earlier being found guilty by majority of murdering the missing woman.Jones was also convicted of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending Ms Fleming was alive, and both were convicted of perverting the course of justice. They were each jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 14 years.They murdered Ms Fleming two years after taking her into their home. The teenager’s father, a tradesman who retrained as a lawyer,had asked them to look after her when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.She was living with him and her elderly grandparents before he died and was said to have had a difficult relationship with her mother. The judge Lord Matthews told the pair that only they knew truth, and only they knew where Margaret’s remains could be found. “Margaret Fleming was a vulnerable young woman with evident difficulties. She was in your care and you breached the trust placed in you.”The manner in which you spoke about her was cruel. The web of deceit that you spun was callous and calculating.”Cairney and Jones killed Margaret and disposed of her body between December 1999 and January 2000.The senior police officer investigating the case, Detective Superintendent Paul Livingstone, urged them to reveal where they had put her remains.He said: “Cairney and Jones’s lies have been exposed and now they have to serve their time for the heinous crimes they’ve committed.”Margaret was a very vulnerable young woman when she was abused, neglected, manipulated and murdered by these two greedy, evil individuals.”Margaret’s family and friends will never know just what happened to her and they have been denied the right to pay their final respects to her at her funeral.”I would say to Cairney and Jones, if you have a scrap of decency you will give the answers to the questions that Margaret’s family deserve. Det Chief Supt Livingstone called on the killers to reveal what they had done with their victimCredit:SWNS “I am willing to meet either of them so that they can tell me in order to provide some kind of comfort to her family and allow them to put her to rest finally.” Cairney and Jones were jailed for lifeCredit:Police Scotland/PA Jurors found the couple murdered Ms Fleming by unknown means at their squalid home in Inverkip, Inverclyde, or elsewhere in Scotland.Police launched an investigation in 2016 after routine social services inquiries sparked concerns over her whereabouts.It was claimed the last independent sighting of her was at a family event on December 17, 1999. Her supposed carers were arrested in October 2017.During the trial prosecutors described Ms Fleming as a “friendless and lonely” young woman with significant difficulties.She moved to the Seacroft home of the accused when she was a teenager, following her father’s death, after those closest to her “didn’t want her”. By October 1999, the household was collecting her benefits.The Crown suggested it was “tempting” for Cairney and Jones to have the money but not the “inconvenience” of looking after her.The pair claimed that Ms Fleming ran off with a traveller, then went on to become a gangmaster who travelled Europe, and a drug dealer with several aliases. Their explanations were dismissed as “farcical”.