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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 19:16 GMT
Family anger at Tiffney verdict
Sean Flynn
The case against Sean Flynn was found not proven
Family members have reacted angrily after a jury returned a verdict of not proven in the case of a man who was accused of murdering his mother.

Sean Flynn, 21, had denied murdering Louise Tiffney and disposing of her body in an unknown location.

The jury at the High Court in Perth decided the case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Flynn expressed relief and delight at the verdict and said he hoped to end the rift with his family.

Miss Tiffney, 43, was last seen leaving her Edinburgh home in May 2002. A murder inquiry was launched when police said they were convinced she was no longer alive.

In June 2002, Mr Flynn was given three years and nine months in a young offenders' institution after admitting causing the deaths of two friends in a car crash.

June Tiffney (right)
Her name has been dragged through the mud by her son
June Tiffney (right)
Louise Tiffney's sister

While waiting to be sentenced, he and his mother quarrelled at their home in Dean Village. The Crown alleged that he killed her and hid her body.

The inquiry into her disappearance ranged from divers searching the Water of Leith outside her flat to the involvement of Interpol, the international police organisation.

The trial heard that blood stains were found in the boot of his car at the time of his mother's disappearance.

The charges alleged that he washed and cleaned the boot of the car to hinder or prevent it being forensically examined by police and that he had previously shown malice and ill-will towards his mother.

On Thursday, the jury returned a not proven verdict after a 22-day trial.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Flynn said: "I really don't know how to describe it. I am just so relieved it is all over. It is 100% relief. Now I need to get my life back together.

I heard what they said and it's obvious they don't want to speak to me at the moment, but I would like to sort it out
Sean Flynn

"I want to see my sister Hannah because I have not seen her for nearly three years and I miss her. I will see what happens with the rest of the family.

"I heard what they said and it's obvious they don't want to speak to me at the moment, but I would like to sort it out.

"I felt they have been listening to the police and getting one side of it for such a long time that it's understandable I suppose."

Mr Flynn said his father and stepmother had stood by him and he wanted to make contact with his friends again. He said he hoped his mother would still be found alive.

The verdict, which was reached after seven-and-a-half hours of deliberation, was greeted with gasps and tears from members of Miss Tiffney's family in court.

Speaking on the court steps after the verdict, Ms Tiffney's sister June struggled to maintain her composure as she said the verdict was "not justice" for her sister.

Louise Tiffney
Louise Tiffney has not been seen since May 2002

"She is dead and there is no doubt about that," she said.

"Her name has been dragged through the mud by her son."

She added that Mr Flynn had "ruined" their lives.

One family member could be heard saying to Mr Flynn "this is not over".

In court, the Crown portrayed Ms Tiffney as a "loving mother" whose family meant everything to her.

Advocate Depute Murdo MacLeod said Mr Flynn was the "only one in the frame" for Ms Tiffney's murder and that the circumstantial evidence, in particular the blood in the boot of the car, incriminated him.

But during her closing speech, Mr Flynn's defence counsel Frances McMenamin QC said Louise Tiffney was more of a "volatile, impulsive, needy and very selfish" person than the doting mother picture the Crown had painted.

Blood stains

She added that Ms Tiffney was suffering from financial problems and could easily "fly off the handle".

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders police said: "We believe Ms Tiffney is no longer alive and we do not consider her a missing person.

"There has been much publicity since her disappearance in May 2002 but there has been no evidence to show she is alive."

The spokesman said a thorough investigation had been carried out and it was for the jury to decide on the evidence.

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