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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 15:48 GMT
Missing mum 'probably murdered'
Alison McGarrigle
Alison McGarrigle disappeared in 1997
A mother who disappeared in 1997 shortly before she was due to give evidence in a paedophile court case was probably murdered and dumped in the sea, police have revealed.

Officers are to search the sea between Largs and Millport for Alison McGarrigle, from Rothesay.

Mrs McGarrigle was due to give evidence against two men who were later convicted of indecent assault.

The body of the 40-year-old has never been found.

The mother-of-three was last seen by her family in the Largs area in June 1997.

Sea search

She had been lodging in Largs with two cousins before giving evidence against two men who were later convicted of indecent assault and drug offences.

No charges have been brought in connection with her disappearance.

Alison McGarrigle's son Robert appears below her picture at a press conference in Glasgow
Alison McGarrigle's son Robert has appealed for help

Part of the sea between Largs and Millport will be checked over the next two weeks using advanced equipment.

The same technology was used in the US to find pieces of the space shuttle which broke up as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere.

Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow, Detective Superintendent Stephen Heath, who is leading the investigation, said he hoped the search would be a success.

He said: "Sadly, we believe from our investigations that Allison was murdered a short time after her last sighting and that her body was disposed of in the sea in some form of container.

"That is why we have decided to relaunch our investigation and undertake a detailed search."

Mrs McGarrigle's son, Robert, 21, said he would do whatever he could to help police find her body.

He said: "Although seven years have passed since she disappeared, I have never stopped wondering what happened to her.

"Police now believe she is dead and it would help myself and the rest of my family if we were given the chance to lay her to rest.

"I would urge anyone who knows what happened to my mother or has any information that may assist in their inquiries to contact them."

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