THE family of a man convicted of one of Edinburgh’s most notorious murders has hit out at moves to dispose of a cache of evidence linked to the crime.

Relatives of convicted killer David Gilroy – jailed for 18 years for the death of former lover Suzanne Pilley whose body has never been recovered – say they will never be able to prove his innocence if prosecutors dispose of the evidence used in his trial.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has announced plans to ditch the rest of the evidence used to convict him.

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Mr Gilroy’s supporters point to other jurisdictions, including England and Wales, where court productions are retained for much longer – particularly if someone is serving a life sentence.

His stepmother Linda Gilroy said: “To get rid of evidence at this stage denies David the chance to commission experts to show how badly some of the key evidence used to convict him is wrong. “Scotland seems to be out of line with England and Wales and other modern jurisdictions in getting rid of evidence at such an early point in a sentence,” she added.

“How many other Scottish prisoners have been, or will be, robbed of the chance to prove that they have been wrongfully convicted?”

Sentencing Gilroy in 2012, Lord Bracadale spoke of the “quite chilling calmness” with which Gilroy set about disposing of the body.

He was described in court as possessive and manipulative.

He had sent her more than 400 texts in the month before she went missing, but these stopped when she vanished.

The day after Ms Pilley went missing Gilroy drove from Edinburgh to Lochgilphead.

The police found he took two hours longer to get there than the average time, and the return journey was even longer.

Officers were convinced he had driven his car off road on that day, and found he had cuts and bruises on his hands and face.

Gilroy now hopes to seek expert opinions on key evidence in the case. But his supporters fear the COPFS action will destroy vital evidence denying him the chance to prove he is not guilty of the murder.

COPFS claims it is impractical to continue to store such evidence and there is no need.

“Given that there are now no further appeal proceedings ongoing, the Crown has authorised the release of all productions,” the agency said.

Euan McIlvride, of the Glasgow-based Miscarriage of Justice Organisation (MOJO) Scotland said “If you look at some of the high profile examples where convictions have been overturned – such as TC Campbell, Joseph Steele and Paddy Hill – they all took more than one appeal.

“For the Crown Office to take the view that it is one strike and you are out is harsh. It is entirely wrong that they are able to deny access to justice to the very people they prosecuted.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission said “We reviewed Mr Gilroy’s case and concluded there was no reason to believe there to have been a miscarriage of justice.”

A spokeswoman for COPFS said that while the law states evidence must be retained until a convict is released from custody in England and Wales, there is no such law in Scotland. “David Gilroy was convicted of murder and his appeal and application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission were unsuccessful. As such there is no legal basis for COPFS to retain the productions relating to this case,” she said.