A mum today told a murder trial that she reported her daughter missing after being unable to contact her.
Margaret Faulds, 70, was giving evidence at the trial of prison officer Ross Willox who denies murdering 39-year-old Emma at Fairfield Park, Monkton on April 28, 2019, by means unknown.
Prosecutors allege 41-year-old Willox dumped Emma’s naked body in Glentrool Forest, Dumfries & Galloway.
Emma was reported missing on April 30 by her mum and her dad, 70-year-old Ian, and a massive police search was undertaken.
Her body was found by a police search team on June 12.
Mrs Faulds said that Emma had her tea at her parents’ home on April 25 and told them she was going to see Willox on Sunday. The pair became friends when they both worked at Kilmarnock prison as warders.
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Mrs Faulds said her daughter was going to see a rescue dog Willox had just acquired.
At the High Court in Glasgow, Mrs Faulds told prosecutor Paul Kearney that she became worried after Emma, who she described as ‘always having a phone on the end of her hand’ had not been in touch with friends or family for a couple of days.
She said: “We were concerned because it was totally out of character. She was in touch every day. My husband and I knew something was wrong.”
The court heard that on May 10, Willox appeared in court charged with Emma’s murder – although no body had been found.
Mr Kearney asked Mrs Faulds: “Were you told a body had been found on June 12, 2019?”, and she tearfully replied: “Yes. I was.”
She added that she was taken to the site where the body was found and said: “It was very remote. No one would walk there or drive there. You would have to see it to believe how remote it was.”
Mrs Faulds sobbed as the jury was shown CCTV footage of Emma walking her Westie Maverick at 3.32pm on April 26 and in Home Bargains in Kilmarnock on April 28 at 4.36pm.
Earlier, Mrs Faulds told the jury that on April 30, she and her husband were visiting relatives in Brighton, Sussex when she received a call from her daughter’s employers at Kibble School in Paisley, Renfrewshire saying she had not turned up for work.
Mrs Faulds said she tried to contact Emma without success and discovered she also had not been in touch with other family or friends.
Later on April 30, Mrs Faulds and her husband went into Brighton police station and reported her missing.
Under cross-examination by defence QC Donald Findlay, Mrs Faulds accepted that her daughter was ‘a party girl’ who liked to drink.
Mr Findlay said: “The ladies and gentlemen of the jury are going to hear she was a cocaine user“, and Mrs Faulds replied: “I had no idea. I would not have approved of her taking it.”
The QC then said that Emma was a police officer for two years before leaving and added: “Was it found she had contact with someone it would not be appropriate for a police officer to associate with?“, and she replied: “Probably.”
Emma’s dad Ian was asked why he and his wife had decided to report her missing and said: “We were on edge and decided to report her missing because it was so unlike her.”
Willox is also charged with attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding her body for days before dumping it in a forest and attempting a cover up of his alleged involvement in her death between April 28 and May 8, 2019.
Prosecutors allege he disposed of Emma’s mobile phone, clothing and belongings and carried out an online search about blood and how to remove vehicle tracking.
Willox is also said to have repeatedly left voicemails on Emma’s phone ‘pretending that he believed she was alive’ and he quizzed officers about her whereabouts claiming he was ‘worried’.
He is also accused of being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Willox denies all the charges against him.
The trial before judge Lord Mulholland continues.
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