A detective who investigated the murder of Margaret Fleming at the hands of the carers who were today convicted of killing her said her last days would have been 'a living hell'.Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, were convicted of murder at the High Court in Glasgow after spinning an elaborate web of lies about Margaret's disappearance.Margaret was last seen aged 19, in December 1999 but it was not realised she was missing until 2016.She had gone to live with Cairney and Jones after her father's death, but they exploited her benefits - eventually prompting suspicions from social services and police.Today Margaret was described as 'funny, caring young woman', who 'must have felt she was alone in the world' after she went to live with Cairney and Jones.The house in Inverkip, Inverclyde, where she was tied up and starved was filthy and 'uninhabitable'.Detective Superintendent Paul Livingstone, Senior Investigating Officer, said:"Margaret was a very vulnerable young woman who was manipulated, abused, neglected and ultimately murdered by the two people who should have been looking after her."It is clear that one of Cairney and Jones' motivation was money.
"As part of their scheming ways they also managed to manipulate Margaret's mother, Margaret Cruikshanks before Cairney assaulted her.
"For many years, Cairney and Jones kept up the pretence that Margaret was still alive, going as far as to write letters claiming to be from her.
"Margaret was described as being a funny, caring young woman who, despite having some mild learning difficulties, just wanted to be liked and to have friends.
"She was close to her father who died suddenly before she came to live under the care of Cairney and Jones.
"Margaret had been to James Watt College briefly before Cairney and Jones began to control her life and keep her prisoner within their home in Inverkip.
"She was subjected to daily punishment which included being tied up, having her hair cut short and deprived of food.
"The treatment which she was subjected to can only be described as horrific and the conditions in which she lived in were utterly disgusting and uninhabitable.
"For Cairney and Jones to continue the charade that she was still alive for all these years is abhorrent, with one of their reasons for doing so being for financial gain.
"We will never know just how Margaret was killed.
What we do know is that she lived her last days in what can only be described as a living hell.
"She must have felt that she was alone in the world with no one coming to help her which is just heartbreaking to think of.
"All of the detectives who worked on this complex enquiry were resolute in their aim to secure justice for Margaret.
They wanted to be the advocate she never had.
"Margaret was just a young woman when she was murdered.
"Who knows what she could have gone on to achieve in her life if it hadn't been ended so prematurely at the evil and greedy hands of Cairney and Jones."