A HUGE audience is expected to tune in tonight to a TV programme about the murder of vulnerable Inverkip teenager Margaret Fleming.

A new BBC documentary - Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming - follows the High Court proceedings which led to killer carers Eddie Cairney and Avril Jones being found guilty and locked up.

The two part programme, being broadcast over the next two nights, takes viewers inside the case with unprecedented access to the trial.

Main figures in the programme have spoken about the extraordinary case, which shocked Inverclyde and the rest of the country, including prosecutor Iain McSporran QC and defence lawyers Thomas Ross QC, who represented Cairney, and Ian Duguid QC, who defended Jones.

Mr Ross, 56, revealed his thoughts about the astonishing TV interview given by the couple while Margaret, who had learning difficulties, was being searched for as a missing person.

During it the pair claimed she was alive and working as a gangmaster in Europe.

He said: “You will never get another case like this.

“I don’t know why he did the interview.

“He doesn’t need to prove that he is innocent.

"He doesn’t even have to prove that she is alive.

“The Crown has to prove that she is dead.

“We knew it was there and would have to be dealt with.”

Prosecutor Mr McSporran, 55, said: “Why would you be talking about murder if someone was just away being a gangmaster in Poland?”

Margaret moved into the pair’s home Seacroft home in October 1995 when her father, Derek, died and the relationship between Jones and Cairney and their mindset is explored in the documentary.

Cairney's representative Mr Ross said: “We didn’t get any insight at all into the relationship.

“We know they stayed together for years and we know witnesses said they weren’t sure if they were a couple.

“He was quite clever and he took an interest in the case in a way a lot of accused don’t.”

Jones' lawyer Mr Duguid, 64, said: “It would be quite difficult to get to the bottom of the nature of their relationship because obviously issues of confidentiality remain.

“But even to try to establish what the relationship was over a number of years was quite hard to discern really over the case.

“As a personality, she was just quite reserved.

"She didn’t show many emotions.

“You see her when she was interviewed on the television.

"That is pretty much the embodiment of her general personality.

“Some people said she was a bit detached from the process sometimes.

“She certainly gave a good indication of following all the proceedings but it is hard to find a description for her.

"She is quite unemotional I think.”

The programme also features police officers, witnesses and school friends of the victim.

The officer who first knocked on the door of Jones and Cairney's ramshackle, filthy home in October 2016 looking for Margaret has told told how he knew 'something wasn't right'.

Sergeant Chris McKay said Cairney claimed she had just left via the back door of the crumbling cottage.

He said: "The one thing he said that stuck with me was that if we went away Margaret Fleming would come back, because authority figures had it drilled into her that she would be taken into care.

"From the outset it was very strange.

"I still remember standing here on that night in question.

"Asking him questions and he would control the conversation.

"He wouldn't allow Avril to speak.

"You could tell she was extremely nervous, just very fidgety with her hands and looked a bag of nerves.

"That's when we were thinking 'wait a minute, something's not right here'."

Margaret's disappearance went unnoticed for 17 years before a benefits claim made in her name raised alarm bells.

It was soon discovered she had not been seen since 1999 and a massive search found no trace of her.

She had been killed between December 1999 and January 2000 by her carers, who then covered up the crime and claimed £182,000 in benefits in her name.

The pair have refused to say what they did with Margaret's body, despite repeated pleas from the detectives who brought them to justice.

* Murder Trial: The Disappearance Of Margaret Fleming begins on BBC Scotland tonight at 10pm.