Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 15:07 UK

Murdered Rothesay woman 'feared' two men

Alison McGarrigle
Allison McGarrigle's body has never been discovered

A woman presumed to have been killed before her body was dumped at sea was scared of two men called "Willie" and "Charlie", a court has heard.

Social worker Elaine Mullan told the High Court in Glasgow that Allison McGarrigle made the claim less than a year before she disappeared.

Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan deny killing Mrs McGarrigle in 1997.

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

Mrs McGarrigle was reported missing in February 1998. Her body has never been recovered and she was declared dead in 2005.

The court heard that the alleged victim met with Ms Mullan in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on 15 August 1996.

The social worker said Mrs McGarrigle was distressed and that it was "hard to grasp what she was saying".

I was very concerned at what was happening. I saw the two men in my mirror. I was thinking 'why was this happening?'
Elaine Mullan

She told the court that Mrs McGarrigle claimed she was in fear of two men and gave their names as "Willie" and "Charlie".

She later went that day in Ms Mullan's car to attend a meeting in Lochgilphead, Argyllshire.

The social worker told the jury: "Allison was very agitated. She then said that we were being followed by Charlie and Willie.

"The car was then very close to us as if trying to overtake. I was getting agitated while trying to drive."

Ms Mullan said at one point the other vehicle was "practically at my bumper".

She went on: "I was very concerned at what was happening. I saw the two men in my mirror. I was thinking 'why was this happening?'."

Special defence

Ms Mullan eventually drove to a local police station and reported what had happened.

She said "Charlie and Willie" also appeared and an inspector went out to speak to them.

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.

He has lodged a special defence incriminating Mrs McGarrigle's husband Robert as being responsible for her death.

The trial, before Judge Lord Pentland, continues.

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