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Tags David Gilroy , murder cases , Scotland cases

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Old 29th January 2015, 05:48 AM   #121
anglolawyer
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Given the evidence and the analysis here, it doesn't sound like this would be at all likely, but if one were to try and dispose of a body in a hurry, there are numerous roads in Argyll and the Trossachs which skirt the edges of a loch: Awe, Lubnaig and Lomond spring to mind.

Suitably wrapped and weighted of course, as others have mentioned. Stop in a lay-by, at night obviously. Job done.
The evidence is strongly to the effect that he disposed of her during the daytime in the course of a trip to and from Lochgilphaed. Thoroughly weighing down a body and getting it out on to the surface of a lake and then dropping it in is a complicated operation requiring all kinds of things that don't just come to hand (a boat, weights).
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Old 29th January 2015, 05:49 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Suitably wrapped and weighted of course, as others have mentioned. Stop in a lay-by, at night obviously. Job done.
At what time could one expect useful cover of darkness at that latitude in early May, bearing in mind he has "reappear" by switching his phone on at 21:00?

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Old 29th January 2015, 05:55 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Given the evidence and the analysis here, it doesn't sound like this would be at all likely, but if one were to try and dispose of a body in a hurry, there are numerous roads in Argyll and the Trossachs which skirt the edges of a loch: Awe, Lubnaig and Lomond spring to mind.

Suitably wrapped and weighted of course, as others have mentioned. Stop in a lay-by, at night obviously. Job done.

I was looking at Loch Awe, earlier in the thread. I don't think that was done, because it doesn't explain the state of the car. The state of the car says rough forestry tracks at speed, probably with some actual off-road travel maybe along the bed of a burn. Though I suppose down onto the shore could also explain it.

But also, I don't see how you get the body far enough from the shore without a boat. There's nowhere where the depth of the water just drops off a cliff. And how do you carry a heavily-weighted body out into the loch? I don't think you can. He didn't have access to a boat that we know about.

And as you said, it would really have to be done by night, because lochs with roads skirting them tend to be overlooked by a lot of vantage points. This body was disposed of in the early afternoon, in May.
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Old 29th January 2015, 05:55 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
The evidence is strongly to the effect that he disposed of her during the daytime in the course of a trip to and from Lochgilphaed. Thoroughly weighing down a body and getting it out on to the surface of a lake and then dropping it in is a complicated operation requiring all kinds of things that don't just come to hand (a boat, weights).
One would also have to factor in whether he was familiar with handling small boats, or even being able to swim. Desperation might overcome a lot of things, but I think even with the resources most people couldn't dispose of a body in water easily or unobtrusively unless they had a lot of time to play with.

On top of that, "Lady in the Lake" killer Gordon Park made the news again by commiting suicide in prison at the end of January 2010, generating enough new publicity that would no doubt have put a lot of people off that disposal method for a bit.

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Old 29th January 2015, 06:01 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
At what time could one expect useful cover of darkness at that latitude in early May, bearing in mind he has "reappear" by switching his phoen on at 21:00?

Didn't he have the phone on all along, and just got back to civilisation and plentiful masts at nine? I'm not clear about this. If his phone was off, it couldn't have pinged the mast at Rest and Be Thankful.

Useful cover of darkness is pretty late even in early May. Ten-ish? And there might have been people out right till dusk that night too, because it was the evening before the last general election. Leafleting, taking election materials to volunteers to be used at opening of poll the next day, that sort of thing.

Anyway, the missing time was in the early afternoon.
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Old 29th January 2015, 06:41 AM   #126
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I suppose what we're talking about is fairly academic. According to the CCTV footage alone, you'd expect the body to be somewhere between Tyndrum and Inveraray. Only the phone pings suggest it's more likely to be somewhere else entirely. That latter hypothesis being supported by the route Gilroy took to get back to Edinburgh, and possibly by the sighting of a silver car in that area.

But, wherever it was put, it wasn't found. Is anyone in any doubt that Gilroy actually murdered Suzanne Pilley, then disposed of the body some time the following day? His family are squealing about a miscarriage of justice and an innocent man in prison for four years, but I'm not sure what they're using for logic there.
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Old 29th January 2015, 06:54 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
By the way, here's the innocentisti fan club. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/c...laim.116270328

I wonder, did he think he couldn't be convicted without a body? That seems to be a bit of an urban legend, and he might have believed it. Was it ever the case that the body was 100% essential for a murder conviction?
...I wonder if you are aware how much this term makes your posts sound as if they did, in fact, escape from CT? Is there no less demeaning or dismissive way to refer to the group of "people who may disagree about the guilt of the convicted party"?

Do you, in fact, apply the label to your own Lockerbie work?

(Not to say that I am not enjoying the thread--that label just seems unnecessary, to me.)
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Old 29th January 2015, 07:00 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Slowvehicle View Post
...I wonder if you are aware how much this term makes your posts sound as if they did, in fact, escape from CT? Is there no less demeaning or dismissive way to refer to the group of "people who may disagree about the guilt of the convicted party"?

Do you, in fact, apply the label to your own Lockerbie work?

(Not to say that I am not enjoying the thread--that label just seems unnecessary, to me.)
To me, it connotes nothing but mild humour and not at anybody's expense. I am active in a lot of these threads and don't mind at all being called this or its opposite.
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Old 29th January 2015, 07:00 AM   #129
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It was a joke, with reference to some earlier posts comparing the case with the Knox case. So far as I know, the only context for the use of that term is the Knox case, which is of course happening in Italy.

(And I'm also perfectly convinced Knox is innocent.)
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Old 29th January 2015, 07:05 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
But also, I don't see how you get the body far enough from the shore without a boat. There's nowhere where the depth of the water just drops off a cliff.
It was more a general speculation. For example there is the Loch Awe viaduct where the road overhangs the water. I don't know the depth at that point, but it might be where someone desperate enough would think of.

But no, I'm not seriously thinking that's what happened here.
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Old 29th January 2015, 07:12 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
To me, it connotes nothing but mild humour and not at anybody's expense. I am active in a lot of these threads and don't mind at all being called this or its opposite.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It was a joke, with reference to some earlier posts comparing the case with the Knox case. So far as I know, the only context for the use of that term is the Knox case, which is of course happening in Italy.

(And I'm also perfectly convinced Knox is innocent.)
TY, both.

As I say, I just find it a bit jarring. Carry on, and don't mind me...
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Old 29th January 2015, 07:59 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
It was more a general speculation. For example there is the Loch Awe viaduct where the road overhangs the water. I don't know the depth at that point, but it might be where someone desperate enough would think of.

But no, I'm not seriously thinking that's what happened here.

Yes, I know the part you mean. My mother used to freak out and have hysterics driving it. It's beyond the turnoff for Inveraray, but not much further. It could well spring to mind if you suddenly find yourself with a body to dispose of at short notice!

You'd need some very effectively-moored weighting, and to get the lot over the safety barrier. It's a busy road. Maybe at three in the morning, but not three in the afternoon, as you say. And if something came loose and something floated, you're screwed.
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Old 29th January 2015, 02:36 PM   #133
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I mentioned the case to a colleague at work this afternoon, and he remarked that his wife had known Suzanne Pilley. He knew about the SCCRC application, but also couldn't see where the grounds were unless it was just more sterile "they should have cautioned me before I made that non-incriminating witness statement" stuff.

He also believes Gilroy's refusal to reveal where he hid the body is the worst part of the case now. If the SCCRC throws out the appeal application, one might hope he'll give in and point to the spot.

Anybody care to put forward rational grounds for appeal? Genuinely reasonable doubt? Another explanation for Gilroy's behaviour (which he refuses to give himself)?
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:08 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Anybody care to put forward rational grounds for appeal? Genuinely reasonable doubt? Another explanation for Gilroy's behaviour (which he refuses to give himself)?
Nope. It's a conviction that rests on the null hypothesis, i.e., lack of a plausible alternative, rather than strong affirmative evidence, and so the potential may exist to challenge it on legal grounds. For those interested in what really happened, I think you have it figured out. He killed her in a fit of rage, somehow got her body into the trunk (boot) of his car, and buried her in a shallow grave.

You will find her skeletal remains between Tyndrum and Inveraray, just over the hill, next to the tree. Perhaps you can go to exhume her on the 5th anniversary of the deadly deed. You'll need good walking shoes and a camera to document the forensic vistas, but you can leave your shovel at home because she's not that deep. After looking at photos of the area, I cannot imagine a more pleasant way to spend a spring day.
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:10 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I mentioned the case to a colleague at work this afternoon, and he remarked that his wife had known Suzanne Pilley. He knew about the SCCRC application, but also couldn't see where the grounds were unless it was just more sterile "they should have cautioned me before I made that non-incriminating witness statement" stuff.

He also believes Gilroy's refusal to reveal where he hid the body is the worst part of the case now. If the SCCRC throws out the appeal application, one might hope he'll give in and point to the spot.

Anybody care to put forward rational grounds for appeal? Genuinely reasonable doubt? Another explanation for Gilroy's behaviour (which he refuses to give himself)?
An appeal has to show the verdict was unsafe and unsatisfactory, not merely that there is reasonable doubt since that question is for the jury only. It's also a bit late for imaginative explanations since new evidence is not allowed unless there is some good reason why it could not have been given at trial. You are only supposed to have one go.

I can only think of desperate, fantastic and futile arguments. How about this one: she is still alive. It's one of those cases where someone goes out for a packet of cigarettes and is gone for twenty years leaving all the trappings of their previous life behind. Jack London based a short story on such a case. She was tangled up with two (or more) guys and couldn't see a way out. She is probably working in a cafė round the corner. It would be bloody fantastic if she popped up again asking what all the fuss was about.

Or, what about this? He killed her by accident. He shoved her and she fell down the stairs to the basement. Dead. He then went into traumatic shock like Jodi Arias and his entire memory was erased so he naturally thought he had murdered her but now realises what really happened thanks to psychotherapy.
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:36 PM   #136
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She either disappeared voluntarily, or someone else disappeared her. She is either alive or dead. That's the four basic scenarios.

She decided to do a Reggie Perrin, without taking any money or personal effects or her passport. No doubt her parents would look after the cat (whose name I forget), but who would look after her parents, who are clearly grief-stricken? It's fantasy-land. There is no evidence to support this at all.

She decided on a particularly bizarre disappearance/suicide, somehow managed to extricate herself from Thistle Street without showing up on any CCTV camera, took a bus to nowhere and - jumped into Loch Awe? There's no evidence to support this at all.

She was kidnapped, and is being held somewhere as a sex slave. There is no evidence for this at all.

She was killed by someone. There is indeed evidence for this.

I think Gilroy believes he can demand that his behaviour should be considered in the abstract. What has he done wrong? Nothing. So he bought some air freshener and hung around the basement at work and went on an unannounced trip saying it had been pre-arranged, and took hours too long on the journey. He totalled the suspension on his car, driving off-road. He had scratches on his hands, although there was no sign of brush clearance in his garden. He put make-up on the scratches.

Is any of that a crime? No. Any one of us could do any of that without fear of prosecution. But he did it in the context of Suzanne Pilley being missing. Somebody happened to her, you can't get away from that. And if Gilroy wasn't the somebody, who was?

He's never given any explanation for the missing hours, so he can hardly start dreaming one up now. If it was an accident, he had his chance. It might have been his best bet at the time, but he's left it far too late.

I've been treated to a phalanx of Scots law experts telling me in doom-laden tones just how hard it is to get the SCCRC to make a referral, and then get that into the appeal court if they do, especially after Cadder and Carloway. The SCCRC has recently been criticised by the appeal court for making referrals the appeal court believed were without merit, wasting its time. The SCCRC are therefore now being extremely thorough in only making referrals where there is a really good case for the verdict being overturned. They don't want to be criticised again.

I'm being told all this in the context of the application for a third appeal against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's conviction. We have bucketloads of evidence that that was unsafe. Starting with the SCCRC's own acknowledged six grounds from 2007 and there we merely have to show that the appellant deserted the appeal for a good reason (that he knew he was dying and wanted to maximise his chance of being allowed to return home). And then the new stuff, which is frankly more compelling than the old stuff, culminating in "irrefutable" proof of factual innocence.

And still the legal eagles stroke their beards (if they have them) and tell us what a huge hurdle we have to surmount. How the hell Gilroy thinks he's going to get over that hurdle, I'm really not entirely sure.
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:41 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
She either disappeared voluntarily, or someone else disappeared her. She is either alive or dead. That's the four basic scenarios.

She decided to do a Reggie Perrin, without taking any money or personal effects or her passport. No doubt her parents would look after the cat (whose name I forget), but who would look after her parents, who are clearly grief-stricken? It's fantasy-land. There is no evidence to support this at all.

She decided on a particularly bizarre disappearance/suicide, somehow managed to extricate herself from Thistle Street without showing up on any CCTV camera, took a bus to nowhere and - jumped into Loch Awe? There's no evidence to support this at all.

She was kidnapped, and is being held somewhere as a sex slave. There is no evidence for this at all.

She was killed by someone. There is indeed evidence for this.

I think Gilroy believes he can demand that his behaviour should be considered in the abstract. What has he done wrong? Nothing. So he bought some air freshener and hung around the basement at work and went on an unannounced trip saying it had been pre-arranged, and took hours too long on the journey. He totalled the suspension on his car, driving off-road. He had scratches on his hands, although there was no sign of brush clearance in his garden. He put make-up on the scratches.

Is any of that a crime? No. Any one of us could do any of that without fear of prosecution. But he did it in the context of Suzanne Pilley being missing. Somebody happened to her, you can't get away from that. And if Gilroy wasn't the somebody, who was?

He's never given any explanation for the missing hours, so he can hardly start dreaming one up now. If it was an accident, he had his chance. It might have been his best bet at the time, but he's left it far too late.

I've been treated to a phalanx of Scots law experts telling me in doom-laden tones just how hard it is to get the SCCRC to make a referral, and then get that into the appeal court if they do, especially after Cadder and Carloway. The SCCRC has recently been criticised by the appeal court for making referrals the appeal court believed were without merit, wasting its time. The SCCRC are therefore now being extremely thorough in only making referrals where there is a really good case for the verdict being overturned. They don't want to be criticised again.

I'm being told all this in the context of the application for a third appeal against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's conviction. We have bucketloads of evidence that that was unsafe. Starting with the SCCRC's own acknowledged six grounds from 2007 and there we merely have to show that the appellant deserted the appeal for a good reason (that he knew he was dying and wanted to maximise his chance of being allowed to return home). And then the new stuff, which is frankly more compelling than the old stuff, culminating in "irrefutable" proof of factual innocence.

And still the legal eagles stroke their beards (if they have them) and tell us what a huge hurdle we have to surmount. How the hell Gilroy thinks he's going to get over that hurdle, I'm really not entirely sure.
I don't think he'll get over it, but not being a dead camel jockey who's verdict being overturned would make the Scottish justice system a laughing stock gives him a bit of a leg up I think.
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:46 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I don't think he'll get over it, but not being a dead camel jockey who's verdict being overturned would make the Scottish justice system a laughing stock gives him a bit of a leg up I think.

Cynic!
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Old 29th January 2015, 04:13 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
You will find her skeletal remains between Tyndrum and Inveraray, just over the hill, next to the tree. ....

That's the intriguing bit. The CCTV footage says that, but the mobile phone pings say something else. He was in Tyndrum at 1.22. But some time before his next appearance in Inveraray at 3.51 (a 40-minute drive), his mobile phone pinged a mast near Glen Croe. How did he get there? Did he turn back and go down the side of Loch Lomond, or did he drive on to Inveraray then head back across the head of Loch Fyne?

Did he do that because he knew of a great place to hide a body in Glen Croe? If so, why head up to Tyndrum rather than go there directly? Confusion? He only just thought of it?

Or was it a complicated bit of misdirection, and he got rid of the body in Glen Aray before dashing over to the Rest and Be Thankful and switching his phone on? That's a bit surreal.

He did have a deadline. As it was, he didn't get to Lochgilphead until 4.25. That's getting late, for a business meeting to do with a school. Any later, and he'd have had a wasted journey. Even as it was, the only people we know he spoke to were the cleaning staff.

If he was so damn clever, I wonder why he didn't think of going straight to Lochgilphead, establishing that he hadn't lost any time there, done his trumped-up business, then ditched the body on the way back. Easier to spin a line about driving off the road to contemplate the beauty of the evening scenery on the way back.

Sorry, I'm going round in circles again, when I only meant to acknowledge your poetic little image.

Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
Perhaps you can go to exhume her on the 5th anniversary of the deadly deed. You'll need good walking shoes and a camera to document the forensic vistas, but you can leave your shovel at home because she's not that deep. After looking at photos of the area, I cannot imagine a more pleasant way to spend a spring day.

Paradoxically, it will be election time again. The burial journey happened the day before the last general election. The police used that day to try to jog people's memory. And because of the new fixed-term parliament legislation brought in just after that, the fifth anniversary will be a couple of days before the 2015 general election.

I have to tell you, I will be otherwise engaged elsewhere in the Scottish countryside that day.
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Old 29th January 2015, 04:25 PM   #140
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And it was all for nothing. He was successful in hiding the body, however he did it and wherever he did it, and whichever road he took.

And yet he was still convicted.

I wonder what would have happened if he'd gone directly to Lochgilphead, body and all, and carried out the spurious business there in the early afternoon. Then set off back, and stopped at a shop in Inveraray or somewhere to buy a picnic meal. Then disappeared somewhere inaccessible to hide the body.

THEN made his way to a remote layby with a nice view and drove off the road and deliberately got his car a bit muddy and bogged down. His later story for the missing time was a picnic stop, and perhaps he fell asleep. He got his hands scratched while getting his car out of a badly-chosen parking place.

If he'd come up with that story at the start and stuck to it, I wonder if the air freshener and the suspicious behaviour in the office the previous day and the cessation of texts and the apparent callousness of loitering for an evening picnic would have been enough to send him down?

His absolute refusal to give any innocent explanation for that journey and the state of his car may be his legal right, but any jury is going to put some adverse weight on that.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:10 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That's the intriguing bit. The CCTV footage says that, but the mobile phone pings say something else. He was in Tyndrum at 1.22. But some time before his next appearance in Inveraray at 3.51 (a 40-minute drive), his mobile phone pinged a mast near Glen Croe. How did he get there? Did he turn back and go down the side of Loch Lomond, or did he drive on to Inveraray then head back across the head of Loch Fyne?

Did he do that because he knew of a great place to hide a body in Glen Croe? If so, why head up to Tyndrum rather than go there directly? Confusion? He only just thought of it?

Or was it a complicated bit of misdirection, and he got rid of the body in Glen Aray before dashing over to the Rest and Be Thankful and switching his phone on? That's a bit surreal.

He did have a deadline. As it was, he didn't get to Lochgilphead until 4.25. That's getting late, for a business meeting to do with a school. Any later, and he'd have had a wasted journey. Even as it was, the only people we know he spoke to were the cleaning staff.

If he was so damn clever, I wonder why he didn't think of going straight to Lochgilphead, establishing that he hadn't lost any time there, done his trumped-up business, then ditched the body on the way back. Easier to spin a line about driving off the road to contemplate the beauty of the evening scenery on the way back.

Sorry, I'm going round in circles again, when I only meant to acknowledge your poetic little image.
It's easy enough to get caught up in circles. We are looking at random and incomplete forensic traces, left by a man who was functioning erratically because he was in a state of panic.

I would not be surprised if he got as far as Tyndrum before changing his mind and deciding to drive through a more remote area. From the map one can see he did not have to backtrack very far, and the distance to Inveraray was not much greater.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:22 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
And it was all for nothing. He was successful in hiding the body, however he did it and wherever he did it, and whichever road he took.

And yet he was still convicted.

I wonder what would have happened if he'd gone directly to Lochgilphead, body and all, and carried out the spurious business there in the early afternoon. Then set off back, and stopped at a shop in Inveraray or somewhere to buy a picnic meal. Then disappeared somewhere inaccessible to hide the body.

THEN made his way to a remote layby with a nice view and drove off the road and deliberately got his car a bit muddy and bogged down. His later story for the missing time was a picnic stop, and perhaps he fell asleep. He got his hands scratched while getting his car out of a badly-chosen parking place.

If he'd come up with that story at the start and stuck to it, I wonder if the air freshener and the suspicious behaviour in the office the previous day and the cessation of texts and the apparent callousness of loitering for an evening picnic would have been enough to send him down?

His absolute refusal to give any innocent explanation for that journey and the state of his car may be his legal right, but any jury is going to put some adverse weight on that.
That would have been a better plan, but probably not good enough.

I wonder why he needed air freshener. He was dealing with a fresh corpse, not one that had putrefied.
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Old 29th January 2015, 11:14 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
That would have been a better plan, but probably not good enough.

I wonder why he needed air freshener. He was dealing with a fresh corpse, not one that had putrefied.
Is there evidence of him having the car cleaned? Because that's another feat he managed, of leaving no trace of her in the boot (trunk). He may have returned with a sheet or something and wrapped her in it before putting her in.

Yes, drive to Lochgilphead first, act cool and cheerful when you get there, and dump her on the way back, but you can understand him wanting to get shot of the body as quickly as possible. Not good for the rear axle for one thing.

I didn't know computers had not been invented yet in 2010. He went home the morning of the 4th to retrieve an agenda for a meeting. Er, just print it off again maybe ... ? That's another small scrap of evidence against him IMO. His cross examination would have been painful.
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Old 30th January 2015, 02:22 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
I wonder why he needed air freshener. He was dealing with a fresh corpse, not one that had putrefied.
Not an expert, but I suspect even recently deceased bodies may release noxious substances.

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I didn't know computers had not been invented yet in 2010. He went home the morning of the 4th to retrieve an agenda for a meeting. Er, just print it off again maybe ... ?
Given how many people I see who have difficulty with the simplest of tasks with a computer, I wouldn't necessarily read too much into that.
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Old 30th January 2015, 02:56 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Is there evidence of him having the car cleaned? Because that's another feat he managed, of leaving no trace of her in the boot (trunk). He may have returned with a sheet or something and wrapped her in it before putting her in.
Did he use "air freshener," or did he scrub the trunk of his car with some kind of scented detergent, because she crapped herself when he strangled her, and he had to clean up that mess? If that is what happened, he'd have had to be mighty good to remove every trace of DNA.

It makes me wonder about DNA testing. There was a case a few years ago, in the US, where a man abducted, raped and killed a college girl. Her body was found, his DNA showed up in the rape kit, he had priors, so he did it. But he had to have done it by transporting her in his pickup, which was a mess when it was impounded shortly after the crime. It showed no sign of cleaning whatsoever. And yet they could not find a trace of her DNA in that vehicle. I have always wondered why.

In this case, they apparently could not find the victim's DNA in her place of work either. I wonder what they tested. This is an area that needs a systematic analysis, a study across many cases, so investigators can get a better idea of what is "normal" in crime scene DNA.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:34 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
It's easy enough to get caught up in circles. We are looking at random and incomplete forensic traces, left by a man who was functioning erratically because he was in a state of panic.

I would not be surprised if he got as far as Tyndrum before changing his mind and deciding to drive through a more remote area. From the map one can see he did not have to backtrack very far, and the distance to Inveraray was not much greater.

I think I'm inclined to over-credit him as some sort of criminal mastermind, because of him getting the body out of Thistle Street without being seen. Especially as the whole thing was obviously unpremeditated. I mean, that was pretty much miraculous. He should have been caught at that stage. (I think a lot of people would either have left the body where it was and tried to brazen it out, or tried to stage it as an accident.)

But he did other things wrong. He didn't realise he should have carried on texting her, at least during the Tuesday. Buying a lot of air freshener is weird. I don't know how they traced the purchase, but a single can is surely all he'd need, and you could buy that anywhere, maybe with one or two other purchases, pay cash, and who'd remember?

So inconsistent and even irrational behaviour on the Wednesday is scarcely out of character.

I'd have thought if you lined the boot of a car with a thick blanket and/or a sheet of polythene, and also wrapped the body in a blanket or something, you'd be able to prevent DNA getting on the car in the first place.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:40 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
Did he use "air freshener," or did he scrub the trunk of his car with some kind of scented detergent, because she crapped herself when he strangled her, and he had to clean up that mess? If that is what happened, he'd have had to be mighty good to remove every trace of DNA.

It makes me wonder about DNA testing. There was a case a few years ago, in the US, where a man abducted, raped and killed a college girl. Her body was found, his DNA showed up in the rape kit, he had priors, so he did it. But he had to have done it by transporting her in his pickup, which was a mess when it was impounded shortly after the crime. It showed no sign of cleaning whatsoever. And yet they could not find a trace of her DNA in that vehicle. I have always wondered why.

In this case, they apparently could not find the victim's DNA in her place of work either. I wonder what they tested. This is an area that needs a systematic analysis, a study across many cases, so investigators can get a better idea of what is "normal" in crime scene DNA.
My recollection is that not only did he buy air freshener, he bought a lot of it. And I think the car smelled of it too IIRC. What about hair and fibres as well as DNA? It continues to amaze me that there was never any fibre evidence in the Knox case.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:42 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think I'm inclined to over-credit him as some sort of criminal mastermind, because of him getting the body out of Thistle Street without being seen. Especially as the whole thing was obviously unpremeditated. I mean, that was pretty much miraculous. He should have been caught at that stage. (I think a lot of people would either have left the body where it was and tried to brazen it out, or tried to stage it as an accident.)

But he did other things wrong. He didn't realise he should have carried on texting her, at least during the Tuesday. Buying a lot of air freshener is weird. I don't know how they traced the purchase, but a single can is surely all he'd need, and you could buy that anywhere, maybe with one or two other purchases, pay cash, and who'd remember?

So inconsistent and even irrational behaviour on the Wednesday is scarcely out of character.

I'd have thought if you lined the boot of a car with a thick blanket and/or a sheet of polythene, and also wrapped the body in a blanket or something, you'd be able to prevent DNA getting on the car in the first place.
He may have paid with a credit card or, even stupider, kept the receipt
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:43 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think I'm inclined to over-credit him as some sort of criminal mastermind, because of him getting the body out of Thistle Street without being seen. Especially as the whole thing was obviously unpremeditated. I mean, that was pretty much miraculous. He should have been caught at that stage. (I think a lot of people would either have left the body where it was and tried to brazen it out, or tried to stage it as an accident.)

But he did other things wrong. He didn't realise he should have carried on texting her, at least during the Tuesday. Buying a lot of air freshener is weird. I don't know how they traced the purchase, but a single can is surely all he'd need, and you could buy that anywhere, maybe with one or two other purchases, pay cash, and who'd remember?

So inconsistent and even irrational behaviour on the Wednesday is scarcely out of character.

I'd have thought if you lined the boot of a car with a thick blanket and/or a sheet of polythene, and also wrapped the body in a blanket or something, you'd be able to prevent DNA getting on the car in the first place.
I wonder if he killed her in the car. Or do I just not know the facts well enough?
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:49 AM   #150
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You know, we haven't really touched on my original reason for being interested in the case. How far do you go with "reasonable" doubt?

Everyone (apart from Gilroy's immediate family) who has looked at the case believes he did it. The question is the strength of that belief, and at what point a strong balance of probabilities belief can actually meet the criterion of "beyond reasonable doubt".

In that context, his defence (or lack of it) is interesting. Carloway commented that without his first statement, the completely non-incriminating one he was trying to have disallowed on the basis that he wasn't cautioned before he gave the statement, his defence would have relied on nothing but the presumption of innocence.

He's basically sitting there saying nothing, refusing to give any explanation for his journey, or the scratches on his hands, or the state of the car, or stopping texting her, or all that shenanigans on the Tuesday when he went home to get the car, hoping that the prosecution can't quite meet the burden of proof. (And I think he believed they couldn't do that without a body.) He presumably thinks that the minute he starts to give explanations, the police will jump on them and expose them as spurious. And he's probably right.

My position on that is that something happened to Suzanne Pilley. You could dream up other possibilities. But there is no evidence for any other possibility. Gilroy's behaviour is pretty far out there, in the context of what was happening at the time, if there was an innocent explanation for it all. If he didn't do it, we have the paradox that Suzanne disappeared for some completely different reason, a reason we have no pointers towards at all, while at the same time David Gilroy was doing weird stuff for no readily apparent reason, but which all has a completely rational explanation in the context of removing Suzanne's body from the offices and concealing it somewhere in the countryside.

I think that meets "beyond reasonable doubt", and so did the jury, obviously.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:49 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
I wonder if he killed her in the car. Or do I just not know the facts well enough?
No, certainly not. He did not have his car that morning. He hilled her around 9.00 a.m. went back upstairs where he was noted by some to be sweating and clammy and looking weird and then he made an excuse for needing to go home (he left the agenda for a meeting there). He came back with his car which he parked outside in Thistle Street because the underground car park at work (where he killed her) was full and somehow, he managed to spirit her into the car without anyone saying 'oh look, there's a man over there putting a dead body into a car'.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:54 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You know, we haven't really touched on my original reason for being interested in the case. How far do you go with "reasonable" doubt?

Everyone (apart from Gilroy's immediate family) who has looked at the case believes he did it. The question is the strength of that belief, and at what point a strong balance of probabilities belief can actually meet the criterion of "beyond reasonable doubt".

In that context, his defence (or lack of it) is interesting. Carloway commented that without his first statement, the completely non-incriminating one he was trying to have disallowed on the basis that he wasn't cautioned before he gave the statement, his defence would have relied on nothing but the presumption of innocence.

He's basically sitting there saying nothing, refusing to give any explanation for his journey, or the scratches on his hands, or the state of the car, or stopping texting her, or all that shenanigans on the Tuesday when he went home to get the car, hoping that the prosecution can't quite meet the burden of proof. (And I think he believed they couldn't do that without a body.) He presumably thinks that the minute he starts to give explanations, the police will jump on them and expose them as spurious. And he's probably right.

My position on that is that something happened to Suzanne Pilley. You could dream up other possibilities. But there is no evidence for any other possibility. Gilroy's behaviour is pretty far out there, in the context of what was happening at the time, if there was an innocent explanation for it all. If he didn't do it, we have the paradox that Suzanne disappeared for some completely different reason, a reason we have no pointers towards at all, while at the same time David Gilroy was doing weird stuff for no readily apparent reason, but which all has a completely rational explanation in the context of removing Suzanne's body from the offices and concealing it somewhere in the countryside.

I think that meets "beyond reasonable doubt", and so did the jury, obviously.
I don't even get to reasoning it out that much. It intuitively feels like a slam dunk. But if I do reason it out then it leads to the same conclusion. It is a perfect illustration of what reasonable doubt means and what it doesn't mean. We can invent outlandish theories that reconcile the whole thing as a series of unfortunate coincidences but they lie out beyond the zone of reasonableness. Women like her do not often suddenly disappear without trace and when they do and their disappearance happens to coincide with a very peculiar set of circumstances involving one single individual all of which point to him as having killed her it starts to look fishy.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:55 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
I wonder if he killed her in the car. Or do I just not know the facts well enough?

Can't have done. The car wasn't at the office first thing in the morning.

She was seen 50 yards from the front door, but she never made it as far as her desk. Gilroy was noted by other staff members to be in an agitated state not so long after that. He didn't make the excuse about the minutes and go home to fetch the car until a fair bit later. I don't imagine she was tied up in the basement alive, during that time.

I think they met in the front lobby and an argument started. The other staff were unaware that the pair were having an affair. I think they may have gone to the basement by mutual consent, to continue a screaming match without the other staff overhearing. She told him she'd spent the previous night with Mark, the new man in her life, and he lost it and throttled her.

The problem of getting the body away from there (dead or alive, actually) is so extreme that I don't think he would have planned anything in advance of actually killing her.
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:56 AM   #154
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I would quite like to duke this one out with a Bayesian statistician because I maintain they have no role to play in assessing guilt in criminal cases, yet there are some in these parts who think otherwise.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:02 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I don't even get to reasoning it out that much. It intuitively feels like a slam dunk. But if I do reason it out then it leads to the same conclusion. It is a perfect illustration of what reasonable doubt means and what it doesn't mean. We can invent outlandish theories that reconcile the whole thing as a series of unfortunate coincidences but they lie out beyond the zone of reasonableness. Women like her do not often suddenly disappear without trace and when they do and their disappearance happens to coincide with a very peculiar set of circumstances involving one single individual all of which point to him as having killed her it starts to look fishy.

This.

We could discuss something similar on the Lockerbie thread is you want to go there. There is a completely simple and consistent explanation for a particular suitcase seen by a witness. Multiple lines of reasoning converge on the same conclusion. When you find yourself sitting with a bunch of policemen trying (admittedly as "devil's advocate") to dream up a different explanation, and this relies on a string of improbabilities and witnesses not having done what they repeatedly said they did do, it gets ridiculous.

I'd bet my bottom dollar the police got quite excited about new lover-boy Mark too. Jings, she met him through an internet dating agency just a week or two previously. She spent the previous night with him in his flat. He was the last person to see her alive.

The reason we don't hear anything about Mark is that he presumably wasn't anywhere near Thistle Street just before nine, and didn't take a bizarre drive into the Arrochar Alps the following day, and his car wasn't all beat up with signs of having been driven off-road, and his hands didn't have peculiar scratches on them.

Gilroy wasn't the only person the police investigated in this case. He was the only one with the behaviour pattern consistent with having been the murderer.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:17 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I would quite like to duke this one out with a Bayesian statistician because I maintain they have no role to play in assessing guilt in criminal cases, yet there are some in these parts who think otherwise.

I went a few rounds with a researcher who used Bayesian statistics to "prove" that "a negative result is highly reliable even if the sensitivity of the test is not so good". Poor sensitivity means that the test misses a lot of genuine positives, by the way.

The statement is akin to saying, the sun is shining brightly out there even though it's the middle of the night. Nevertheless the scrutineers passed the paper and the journal printed it, because the chain of Bayesian reasoning seemed persuasive.

I had hell's own trouble persuading people that the statement was wrong, partly because of the persuasive reasoning, but mainly because once the American Journal of Veterinary Research has printed something, it's "a reference" and the devotees of argument from authority believe such statements are unchallengeable.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:24 AM   #157
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To me it goes beyond reasonable doubt in the same way as does the case against Hans Reiser, who acknowledged guilt after his conviction by leading police to the body. As you said, circumstances that are not incriminating in themselves, are deeply incriminating in the context of an intimate partner going missing.

What interests me is that the evidence is much weaker than it should be. They got him, but they didn't get him dead to rights. He finessed the crime itself under daunting circumstances, so why did he fall apart later by damaging his car, cleaning it in a way that drew attention, allowing suspicious time gaps, etc.? All of that could have been avoided. So we end up retracing his movements and trying to figure out how we could have done better. And we could have handled that part better.

It goes to the mind of the criminal. He's capable not just of evil intent, but of actual feats most of us could not pull off. But he lacks capabilities most of us take for granted. He's very different from us, but we can only see that because of the crime.

He could have taken the stand, but it wouldn't have done him any good.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:27 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
This.

We could discuss something similar on the Lockerbie thread is you want to go there. There is a completely simple and consistent explanation for a particular suitcase seen by a witness. Multiple lines of reasoning converge on the same conclusion. When you find yourself sitting with a bunch of policemen trying (admittedly as "devil's advocate") to dream up a different explanation, and this relies on a string of improbabilities and witnesses not having done what they repeatedly said they did do, it gets ridiculous.

I'd bet my bottom dollar the police got quite excited about new lover-boy Mark too. Jings, she met him through an internet dating agency just a week or two previously. She spent the previous night with him in his flat. He was the last person to see her alive.

The reason we don't hear anything about Mark is that he presumably wasn't anywhere near Thistle Street just before nine, and didn't take a bizarre drive into the Arrochar Alps the following day, and his car wasn't all beat up with signs of having been driven off-road, and his hands didn't have peculiar scratches on them.

Gilroy wasn't the only person the police investigated in this case. He was the only one with the behaviour pattern consistent with having been the murderer.
Well, take a case we both know. The PGPs in Knox trot out one twilight zone theory after another when confronted with some insurmountable impediment to their theory (in fact an axiom) that they did it. If we had to prove them innocent beyond reasonable doubt, we would win, because the pro-guilt theories all involve just the kind of bat-**** craziness you need to resort to to get Gilroy off.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:30 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I went a few rounds with a researcher who used Bayesian statistics to "prove" that "a negative result is highly reliable even if the sensitivity of the test is not so good". Poor sensitivity means that the test misses a lot of genuine positives, by the way.

The statement is akin to saying, the sun is shining brightly out there even though it's the middle of the night. Nevertheless the scrutineers passed the paper and the journal printed it, because the chain of Bayesian reasoning seemed persuasive.

I had hell's own trouble persuading people that the statement was wrong, partly because of the persuasive reasoning, but mainly because once the American Journal of Veterinary Research has printed something, it's "a reference" and the devotees of argument from authority believe such statements are unchallengeable.
My issue is much simpler. When a Bayesian says they are '99% sure' of something, I want to know what they mean by 99%. You cannot have percentages of assuredness. It is meaningless and simply (in my perhaps overly derogatory view) a way for the inarticulate to avoid using words to describe their mental state. Yesterday, I was 67% sure I was right about this but today it's gone up to 69%.
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Old 30th January 2015, 04:34 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
No, certainly not. He did not have his car that morning. He hilled her around 9.00 a.m. went back upstairs where he was noted by some to be sweating and clammy and looking weird and then he made an excuse for needing to go home (he left the agenda for a meeting there). He came back with his car which he parked outside in Thistle Street because the underground car park at work (where he killed her) was full and somehow, he managed to spirit her into the car without anyone saying 'oh look, there's a man over there putting a dead body into a car'.
Is it known for definite that he left the car in the street? The underground car park being"full" would have just meant all the spaces were occupied, not that he couldn't have still driven in and stopped to do the transfer.

ETA: picture of the car park here - seems more like a series of open-plan double garages.

The company is Infrastructure Managers, 11 Thistle Street, EH2 1DF. Looking on Street View it's clear that the "car park" is actually accessed at the rear, on Thistle Street N E Lane, which is clearly more secluded. These are the ones with the closed white garage doors set under the stone-built building, not the open ones in the grey building further east.

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