Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:47 UK

Husband's claim over missing Rothesay woman murder

Alison McGarrigle
Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

The husband of a woman allegedly killed by two men has claimed she would still be alive if they had not split up.

Robert McGarrigle told the High Court in Glasgow he "fell out of love" with wife Alison and they separated in 1994.

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan deny killing Mrs McGarrigle in Largs or elsewhere in 1997 and dumping her remains in the sea.

It is alleged they abducted the 39-year-old over fears she would report them for abusing a young boy.

Mr McGarrigle, 52, told the court his wife was a "very happy-go-lucky person" who never let anything get her down.

After they separated, Mrs McGarrigle later moved to Rothesay, Isle of Bute, while he remained in Glasgow.

Declared dead

The trial heard how she was reported missing by her estranged husband in February 1998.

Mrs McGarrigle's body has never been recovered and she was declared dead around 2005.

Mr McGarrigle was asked how he felt with regards what may have happened to her.

He told the jury: "If I had not left then my wife would be alive."

High Court in Glasgow
The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

He later admitted that he had been violent towards Mrs McGarrigle, but that she would "fight back" and throw things at him.

Mr McGarrigle denied being possessive, but claimed he had been "a wee bit controlling".

The trial also heard about a young boy that the McGarrigles knew.

Mr Lauchlan, 33, and Mr O'Neill, 47, are said to have been involved in "criminal sexual activity" with him.

Mr McGarrigle said he was aware the child had known men called Charlie and Willie.

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC asked him to "form an opinion what he (the boy) thought of them?"

Threat claim

Mr McGarrigle replied: "He actually thought they were good. He looked up to them."

Miss Bain also asked: "Concerned about the relationship?"

Mr McGarrigle answered: "I phoned but I don't recall when. I said that if I found something was wrong, I would phone the police."

The court later heard claims that Mr McGarrigle had threatened to kill one of the men.

The boy went missing for about three months in 1997 and was eventually discovered at a property in Largs, Ayrshire.

I heard Willie Lauchlan say that he was taking him into the room. I did not want that - he was only a wee boy
Elizabeth McGarrigle

Mr McGarrigle said he was found "in a cupboard or something".

Miss Bain asked when he saw the boy if he opened up to Mr McGarrigle.

He replied: "No, he did not want to speak about anything."

Referring to Mr O'Neill's special defence incriminating him for the murder, Mr McGarrigle said: "I did not kill my wife at all."

The trial later heard that the boy allegedly abused by the accused regularly stayed with them and viewed the pair as "father figures".

The McGarrigle's daughter Elizabeth, who also knew the youngster, said he told her that Lauchlan and O'Neill had given him money.

Miss McGarrigle told the jury: "I heard Willie Lauchlan say that he was taking him into the room. I did not want that - he was only a wee boy. He did not say what he was going to do. I never saw anything sexual."

Mr Lauchlan and Mr O'Neill deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of Mrs McGarrigle's body at sea.

Mr O'Neill also denies a charge of assault and an alternative allegation of culpable and reckless conduct.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

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