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Page 2 | BBC 2 The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming

(226 Posts)
informedisgood Wed 08-Jan-20 21:04:04

Anyone else watching? Thank goodness her "careres" were finally exposed.

OP’s posts: |
WaxOnFeckOff Thu 09-Jan-20 22:37:02

How was it that no-one in the nearby village missed seeing her in nearly twenty-odd years?

Most of the village probably didn't even know she was supposed to be living there. I think she had been an occasional visitor with her dad etc previously and who knows what lies they'd told. Avril's best friend whom she saw weekly had no idea that Margaret even existed and apparently lived with them.

ageingdisgracefully Thu 09-Jan-20 22:39:34

It was a horrible watch. I too think they're guilty as sin.
I think the defence barrister was quite scornful of what he saw as a lack of evidence - I loved the look on his face when the male defendant took the stand - priceless.

I thought they may have found Avril not guilty.

The English teacher was excellent.

Still finding it hard to believe just how long this went on for though. Weren't those benefits ever reviewed?

And there were very close neighbours to that house..surely someone must have suspected something? Very odd.

Verily1 Thu 09-Jan-20 22:45:26

I’d like to know what their own backgrounds were like - April esp looks like someone soulless.

makingmiracles Thu 09-Jan-20 23:03:34

Agree about the two neighbouring properties, the neighbours werent mentioned at all, makes you wonder what went on and how no one saw or suspected anything, especially with the fire officer saying how’s he was sure he’d smelt human flesh, the neighbours must have seen the fire or noticed if it smelled particulary bad?? Also the fire officer himself, he he was so certain he could recognise the smell of burning flesh wtf would you not ring the police immmediately and explain concerns?? Makes you wonder if that’s why the cadaver dog signalled in the garden, I’m guessing they would still smell the scent even though she’d been cremated? Awful people and more so as they were friends of her dad, not just some random carers. HATed seeing his smugness and grinning in court and no reaction at all to be sentenced, bizarre.

Poor poor girl.

WaxOnFeckOff Thu 09-Jan-20 23:05:16

Still finding it hard to believe just how long this went on for though. Weren't those benefits ever reviewed?

There is to be an investigation into that but essentially at one point when they put a claim in it was decided that Margaret was never going to be able to live independently and her needs and condition was not one that was going to improve so her case and entitlement became permanent. It was only when the changes to benefits came in and had to be reapplied for that suspicion was raised.

I can imagine the same thing happening if perhaps you had a perfectly well cared for child/adult in your household that had a permanent impairment, it's essentially so you don't have to go through the rigmarole and perhaps anguish of having to reapply for your child every year when they aren't likely to suddenly not need care and be able to work. It just obviously backfired here. Also a bit like incidents (mostly USA) where DC are "home-schooled" and never seen by independent authorities and have come to harm.

irnbruxtra Thu 09-Jan-20 23:22:07

Just watched part 2- so incredible sad, that poor girl. The interview with the reporter was shocking sad

WaxOnFeckOff Thu 09-Jan-20 23:24:10

Being in Scotland, we saw all that on the news at the time so probably already had a picture of the circumstances, it was really interesting to actually see inside the workings of the court and see him on the stand etc.

WTF0ver Thu 09-Jan-20 23:54:19

I watched this last night (first episode?). I was amazed that you got to see inside the courtroom, you used to only see chalk drawings, "artists impression of the defendant" etc before. It was really interesting and sad. They are definitely guilty and I hope one of them will crack and tell the truth. Poor Margaret.

ageingdisgracefully Fri 10-Jan-20 07:29:25

waxon yes, I thought about this again afterwards.

I have a cousin on ESA and, until recently, on DLA. He's in Support Group and hasn't had a review or assessment for 20years.

As I gather from the programme, it was the ending of DLA and a new application for PIP that raised suspicion to start with? I didn't quite catch it.

PineappleDanish Fri 10-Jan-20 07:33:24

There are different rules about filming in Scottish courts but this is the first case which has been covered in this manner. For many high profile cases the judge delivering the verdict is often shown on telly - but they don't ever show the jury. It is very interesting to see what goes on, and there really was no voiceover needed when the accused took the stand and the camera focused on the defence QC.

The whole relationship between Avril and Edward was weird. Nobody seemed to know if they were a couple or not, the house was in a huge state of disrepair, she appeared to be unable to talk without him telling her what to say. She was the one fraudulently applying for benefit in Margaret;s name. It's very sad how someone can just vanish like this and never be missed.

AnyFucker Fri 10-Jan-20 07:38:03


MsTSwift Fri 10-Jan-20 07:45:04

The murderers absolute scum of the earth. Very upsetting watch that poor girl so vulnerable.

I found the prosecution barrister excellent. So calm and measured.

Felt bad thinking it but the location was so beautiful looked more like Caribbean than Scotland

PineappleDanish Fri 10-Jan-20 08:03:03

he location was so beautiful looked more like Caribbean than Scotland

Didn't you get the memo? Scotland is all like that! grin It is a lovely part of the coast though, not far from Glasgow and the views across the Firth of Clyde to Argyll are lovely. Port Glasgow where Margaret grew up and went to school is... not so lovely.

That's part of what was so jarring - the fairly middle class house and setting, in total disrepair and goodness knows what buried in the garden.

LoseLooseLucy Fri 10-Jan-20 08:03:50

He was a cocky little bastard throughout wasn't he? When he called her fat and dirty sad

The part where the policeman found the drawing with 'help' reminded me of the TV programme The Missing with James Nesbitt.

Poor Margaret.

WaxOnFeckOff Fri 10-Jan-20 09:24:33

Ageing, yes it was the application for PIP that triggered the whole thing as far as I understand from news reports at the time.

notacooldad Fri 10-Jan-20 09:25:58

Felt bad thinking it but the location was so beautiful looked more like Caribbean than Scotland
Why on earth would you feel bad about that? confused

I had come across this story before via a podcast and as I was listening I really hoped there wasn't a 'not proven' verdict. I believe they murdered her. Margaret, from the description of her, was too distinct to leave the house and not be seen by anyone at all ever again. She wouldn't have got far without money, she didn't have the cognitive skills to disappear and go off grid. The description Cairney gave came across as someone who didn't like Margaret.

The English teacher was brilliant and confident. Excellent responses when they tried to make her doubt herself.

chipdips Fri 10-Jan-20 10:18:57

So I'm guessing Cairney's lawyer (who was really struggling with his wig wasn't he btwgrin) didn't want him to take the stand but he insisted, what an absolutely arrogant prick thinking he was clever enough to talk his way out of a murder charge. Was excellent for the prosecution though. Had to google "go away and boil your head" grin.

Such a sad story, god knows what her life was like before she was murdered.

Avril Jones looked completely dead behind the eyes, I don't think her expression changed at all during the trial.

milliefiori Fri 10-Jan-20 11:10:35

I wondered the same about neighbours. their garden was very well kept and so close, so they must have been out in the garden often, caring for it and would have been aware of whether two or three people lived next door. Maybe they just didn;t want to take part in the programme. A tiny selection of witnesses were filmed.

CecilyP Fri 10-Jan-20 12:27:55

Still finding it hard to believe just how long this went on for though. Weren't those benefits ever reviewed?

Apparently not until a change in the benefit system. Does seem surprising that it went on for 17 years.

And there were very close neighbours to that house..surely someone must have suspected something? Very odd.

There was nothing really to suspect if they didn't know that another person was supposed to be living there. Even Avril's best didn't know that Margaret existed. Margaret probably only lived in that house for a couple of months, so original neighbours would have presumed to she was a visitor,and neighbours may have changed over the years. They may have been witnesses; the programme can't have shown all of them.

Have to agree with others that the English teacher was very impressive!

PuppyMonkey Fri 10-Jan-20 14:26:02

Whilst I can well imagine the direct neighbours wanted to have as little to do with them as possible, do you think they even noticed the entire missing wall and never enquired any further to see if all was well?confused

PineappleDanish Fri 10-Jan-20 14:31:59

The BBC reporter lady - Suzanne Allen - was clearly of the "say nothing and let the viewers draw their own conclusions" school of interviewing. In the initial reporting outside the house she was shown saying to the cameraman something like "Aren't we going to mention there's a big hole in the wall?" and in the interview she just stayed quiet and let him talk about gangmasters or whatever. And her silence when Avril couldn't think of what she'd like to say.... spoke volumes.

I also don't think you can blame the neighbours at all. Nobody knew Margaret was supposed to be there. Nobody talked about her, the first people ever to look for her were the police. It's not the scenario that they were pretending to everyone that she was there. My next door neighbour might have 5 fictitious children registered living at her address and how would I ever know?

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 10-Jan-20 15:53:44

I don't know that area, but it's a very scenic seaside village in easy reach fo Glasgow. It's possible that the neighbours use it as a holiday/weekend house, or that they're affluent retirees who go abroad for winter sun for a large chunk of the year, or off to visit family. Plenty of both in the area where my parents live, not a million miles away.

MsTSwift Fri 10-Jan-20 16:07:49

Well it was a program about a horrible murder and maltreatment of a vulnerable lady and I was thinking how gorgeous the sea was very clear

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 10-Jan-20 16:32:27

Fascinating documentary. The cross-examination of Edward Cairney was just astonishing. It would be good if one of them would finally admit what happened, but I can't see it happening. Neither of them look in good shape. He's 77, she's 59, they both look much older.

Their relationship is baffling. That's a big age gap. The woman who said she was a close friend claimed not to know if it was a sexual relationship or platonic. There was also an unexplained lengthy gap in that friendship, and a mention in the documentary that the couple were very sociable up to the end of 1999, lots of friends round, entertaining etc etc, then it all stopped. Did the house go to rack and ruin before this or after? Would people go round for a meal in a house in the state we saw in the documentary? I wouldn't. Didn't their erstwhile friends wonder what had happened to cause such a change? Very, very odd.

I had assumed Margaret's mother was dead or just not in her life, but it seems not. When her father died, why didn't she go to live with her mother or other family members? That would have been the obvious thing to happen. The sense I'm getting from that court report is that most of Margaret's family found her difficult. Maybe they were themselves struggling in various ways. Were they perhaps relieved that her dad had found someone else who would take her on - out of sight, out of mind? Poor, poor girl.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 10-Jan-20 16:33:52

I was thinking that too, MsT. I don't think I've ever been up that way and I didn't know how lovely it was.

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