Emma Faulds: Sister tells jury she knew ‘something was wrong’

The sister of a woman who was found dead in woodland has told a murder trial she knew something was wrong when she failed to answer her phone.

Miriam Faulds, who works in Abu Dhabi, returned to Scotland to join the search for Emma Faulds after she was reported missing.

The nurse was giving evidence at the trial of prison officer Ross Willox.

He denies murdering Emma in Monkton, South Ayrshire, on 28 April 2019 by means unknown.

Prosecutors allege Mr Willox, 41, dumped 39-year-old Emma’s naked body in Glentrool Forest, Dumfriesshire.

On the third day of the trial Ms Faulds, 34, recalled her fears when she was unable to contact Emma.

She said: “I got a feeling in my stomach that something was wrong.”

Ms Faulds told the High Court in Glasgow she flew back to Scotland on 1 May 2019 and began helping in the search for her sister the next day.

Ms Faulds was asked by prosecutor Paul Kearney if she ever saw Mr Willox during the searches.

She replied: “Never, I thought that was strange. Why would he not be trying to find her?”

The witness told the jury that Emma said she was going to Mr Willox’s home on 28 April and was “going to have a bit of a mad one.”

Defence QC Donald Findlay asked her: “You said she was going to be drinking could there have been anything else?” She replied: “Cocaine.”

A friend of Emma’s told the jury he became concerned when police broke into her home on 30 April and found her dog home alone.

Oil and gas worker Nicholas Wyper, 40, said he had been unable to contact her on 29 or 30 April.

When he learned police had forced their way into her flat and found her pet Westie, called Maverick, on his own he immediately left work and drove from Peterhead to Kilmarnock.

He told Mr Kearney: “Maverick was her baby. Maverick never got left himself ever.”

The court heard Maverick had had an operation on his cruciate ligament and Emma kept him in a cage while he was recuperating to stop him running about and jumping.

Mr Wyper said that he spent a fortnight helping with a campaign organised by family and friends to find Emma.

Leaflets were distributed and appeals were made on Facebook.

‘Abandoned’

He said he was also concerned that her BMW 1 series was parked on the other side of the road from her flat.

Mr Wyper said: “It was more like abandoned.”

He told the court Emma had OCD and always parked her car right outside her flat.

Emma’s parents, Margaret and Ian, reported her missing on April 30, 2019 after she failed to turn up for her work at Kibble School in Paisley, Renfrewshire, and didn’t answer texts and calls.

Emma’s last phone contact with a friend was at 20:00 on 28 April.

Lorna Boyle, 53, who worked with Emma, said they exchanged WhatsApp messages.

She told the jury Emma informed he she was at Mr Willox’s house.

Ms Boyle added: “She was intending to stay over. They were intending to have a few drinks together.”

The witness added that Emma had been friends with Mr Willox since they began working together at Kilmarnock Prison.

Police at the scene where the body was found
A major police search operation took place in the Galloway Forest

The court heard that after Emma was reported missing a massive police operation, codenamed Operation Solzen, got under way, which involved searching the Galloway Forest Park and surrounding areas.

Emma’s body was found in a remote area in Glentrool Forest on 12 June 2019 by a police officer and his cadaver dog.

Mr Willox denies all the charges against him.

The trial, before judge Lord Mulholland, continues.

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