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Agony goes on for tragic John's family; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: Bob Smyth

THE family of a murdered man, whose body is still missing, have told of their agony over memories stirred by the Suzanne Pilley trial.

Like Suzanne, John Coughlan's body was buried in a remote rural location by his killer.

But after more than 36 years he hasn't been found, despite the killer admitting his crime after a bizarre "voice from the grave" helped snare him.

Last night, one of John's family, who didn't wish to be named, said, "Seeing reports of the Pilley trial has brought it all back."

John Coughlan's wife Eleanor died never knowing what happened to his remains and his brother and two sisters are still in the dark.

Michael Topham admitted the killing and a retired policeman who cracked the case said it made Scottish legal history.

He said: "Topham confessed after believing he was being taunted by his victim - over the radio. It was a legal first in 1980 when Topham admitted murder, even though John's body was never found."

SCOTLAND'S BIGGEST-SELLING SUNDAY Similar to the Suzanne Pilley case, police searched a forest for a grave but they failed to find John's body.

pounds 1.30 March 18, 2012 WWW.SUNDAYMAIL.CO.UK EXCLUSIVE Gers star unleashedSEE BACK 4892 REVEALED DSevendays 18.3.12 Sunday Mail TV & lifestyle magazine 7 NIGHTS GUIDE TO GOING OUT STRAIN leaves prison after visiting David, left. for The Your stars with Lynne Ewart Karren Brady on her return to The Apprentice and life outside the office do All the top TV previews and listings in Sevendays The ex-cop recalled: "In 1980, we arrested a man with what we thought could be stolen jewellery. Trying to cut a deal, he said he could give us information about a murder. He told us he'd been working with Topham, who was a tradesman.

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The killer later admitted that in 1975 he'd used a hammer and a window weight to batter to death Blantyre man John, who was 57.

Caretaker John had caught Topham stealing paint. Topham, then 35, said he'd buried John in Alltcailleach Forest on the A93 between Braemar and Crathie. But a search couldn't find the grave.

The ex-cop said: "The official story we put out was that Topham was nabbed because he'd drunkenly admitted his crime in a pub. But that was to protect the informant."

Topham was released from prison in 1991 and died eight years later.

The wife of killer David Gilroy was keeping a low profile yesterday. After visiting him in jail the day before with her kids - as our sister paper the Sunday Mail reported - Andrea Gilroy, 42, was not answering her door in Silverknowes, Edinburgh.

A pal said: "She wanted to spend some time with the kids after all they have been through."

CAPTION(S):

CRIMEZ John Coughlan was killed by Topham, above middle
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 19, 2012
Words:644
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