At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Bracadale sentenced David Gilroy to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of the murder of Suzanne Pilley. The punishment part was set at 18 years.

On sentencing Lord Bracadale made the following statement in court:

“Suzanne Pilley was obviously a respected and well liked member of staff in the office in Thistle Street in which both you and she worked. 

In May 2010 she was starting a new chapter in her personal life and that included bringing to an end her relationship with you. 

On 4th May she set out to go to work pretty much as usual: the cctv footage showed her getting off the bus in Princes Street; and, after calling into Sainsbury’s, making her way to Thistle Street. 

Then she just disappeared; and the jury were satisfied on the evidence before them that that was because you murdered her and disposed of her body. 

It seems that you are the only person who knows where her body is. 

I hope that a day will come in your life when you will feel able to disclose that information and that might bring some comfort to her bereft family, particularly her mother and father who, after giving evidence, sat with quiet dignity throughout the rest of the trial.

There are two charges remaining on the indictment.

On charge 6, the charge of murder, I sentence you, as I am required by law to do, to life imprisonment.

I am also required to order that you serve a number of years as a punishment part of the sentence; that is a period which must be served before you can apply for release on licence. 

In assessing that period I require to take into account the seriousness of charge 6 combined with charge 7 and whether you have any previous convictions.

  • I note that you have no previous convictions; indeed, until this sorry pass you had a responsible job and previously had done the State some service. 
  • I accept that the evidence did not bear the interpretation that you lay in wait for Suzanne Pilley, intending to kill her. 
  • Rather, and this was the basis on which the Crown presented its case, the evidence indicated that, having confronted her over her decision to end the relationship, you lost your temper and murdered her in a sustained attack. 

The evidence in support of charge 7 showed that, after murdering Suzanne Pilley, you immediately embarked on an elaborate plan to dispose of her body and avoid detection. 

With quite chilling calmness and calculation you set about the task,

  • You successfully disposed of the body, apparently somewhere in Argyll; and,
  • but for the commendably thorough investigation carried out by Lothian and Borders Police, you might well have been successful in avoiding detection and prosecution. 

Having regard to all the circumstances, I order that you serve a punishment part of 18 years which will be backdated to 13 March 2012.  Because I have combined charges 6 and 7 to arrive at the punishment part I make no separate order in respect of charge “.