A FORMER friend of the two carers accused of murdering missing Margaret Fleming told a jury they could not look after themselves nevermind someone else.

Alison Nugent, 55, was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow where Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, deny murdering Margaret at Seacroft, Main Road, Inverkip, between December 1999 and January 2000.

Margaret, who would now be 38, has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

Mrs Nugent told jurors: “They couldn’t look after themselves never mind anyone else.

“They were in ill health and their house was falling apart around their ears.

“They didn’t have the wherewithal to care for another person.”

Nugent said Seacroft was 'in disrepair' and the ceiling was peeling away.

The court had previously seen pictures of the home that was described as 'chaotic' by a police scene examiner.

The jury heard that Jones never told Mrs Nugent about Margaret until there was a missing persons’ inquiry into her disappearance in November 2016.

She said: “Avril said she came back from getting her hair done and Margaret and Eddie had gone on a walk to Wemyss Bay.

“She said there was someone at the door looking for Margaret and then the police appeared.

“Then Margaret ran away.”

Mrs Nugent claims Jones told her Miss Fleming had gone away with travellers.

She added that she stopped all contact with Jones as she 'couldn’t believe the story anymore'.

Jones’ cousin Margaret Millar also gave evidence and told the jury she was informed that Margaret would come back and collect her benefit money.

She said: “When we were contacting each other by letter Avril said they fell out and the girl had left but she didn’t go into specific details.

“This was before the year 2000.”

Cairney and Jones are also accused of defrauding £182,000 in benefits and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by claiming Margaret was alive.

They deny all the charges against them and the trial before Lord Matthews continues.