'Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming' Breaks Down a Seriously Gruesome Murder

What happened to Margaret Fleming? A documentary about the gruesome murder of the vulnerable teen from Glasgow is coming to BBC later this week.

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Jan. 9 2020, Updated 4:30 p.m. ET

Like most women my age, I'm inexplicably and somewhat ironically drawn to gruesome murder documentaries (despite the fact the victims are most often women). Regardless, in the realm of crime docs, BBC tends to release some really solid deep dives. Sometime later this week, the British TV network is releasing Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming, and the premise is seriously grisly.

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So, what happened to Margaret Fleming? Is the case closed, or are Fleming's killers still on the loose? Here's an in-depth rundown of everything you can expect to see in the two-part BBC special... but fair warning, you may want to sleep with one eye open tonight. Things get pretty creepy.

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What happened to Margaret Fleming? First, we have to go back to who she was in life.

The story starts with Fleming, a 19-year-old woman from Glasgow, Scotland. Many refer to her as a "vulnerable young woman," who had several quite severe learning disabilities, according to I News. At the time of her disappearance, she was living with full-time "carers," Edward Cairney and Avril Jones. They had agreed to look after her when her father passed away in 1995. 

It's been confirmed that Fleming disappeared sometime between December 1999 and January 2000, but the exact date — nor details on what exactly happened to her — have been specified. She was last seen in Inverkip, which is a small village in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. Sadly, Fleming's body was never found.

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Her guardians collected benefits in her name for 16 years before she was pronounced missing

Despite the fact that Fleming had gone missing, Cairney and Jones never bothered to report her absence. In fact, they continued collecting her monetary benefits. According to BBC, the two had claimed £182,000 (about $237,721 USD) for several years until October 2016, when the news broke that Fleming had gone missing. 

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Since they hadn't reported the fact that Fleming had been missing — but continued collecting money in her name for 16 years — Cairney and Jones were tried in Glasgow's high court, according to Radio Times. The trial included a variety of testimonies from Jean McSherry, the ex-partner of Fleming's father, to Jacqueline Cahill, who had been Fleming's teacher prior to her disappearance.

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The investigation was led by Detective Superintendent, Paul Livingstone

The special follows senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent, Paul Livingstone, who walks viewers through the bone-chilling happenings prior to Flemings unexpected disappearance, as well as the conviction of Cairney and Jones 20 years later, according to Mirror. Fleming has officially been presumed dead, despite the fact her body was never found.

Somehow, Cairney and Jones were able to get away with murder for almost 20 years, while stealthily convincing friends, family, and most importantly, the government, that Fleming had been alive the entire time. Money can do seriously strange things to people, so be careful whom you trust.

Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming is now available for streaming on BBC iPlayer. 

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