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Police-probe carer blocks the bulldozers; U-TURN OVER MISSING WOMAN HOUSE; Owner appeals council demolition order.

Byline: Norman Silvester

The carer of missing woman Margaret Fleming has blocked plans to demolish the house where they both lived.

Council officials served an eviction and demolition order on Avril Jones, the owner of the run-down cottage.

But Jones, 57, lodged an appeal at Greenock Sheriff Court to stop proposals to raze the building to the ground in eight days' time.

An international police hunt was launched for Margaret, 36, after she was reported missing lasst October by Jones and her partner Edward Cairney.

Jones and, below, Margaret Jones was given six weeks to make the house habitable on August 7. A hearing has been set for Jones's appeal on September 28.

It is believed she will seek more time from the court to carry out repairs to bring the house - called Seacroft - up to basic standards.

Bulldozers had been due to be sent in to flatten the riverside property on September 18, after Inverclyde Council condemned it as unfit for human habitation.

Workmen have been seen on the property carrying out inspections.

Margaret, who is believed to have learning difficulties, has not been seen in 17 years.

She was only reported missing by Cairney, 75, and Jones, 56, when police visited the house with Department for Work and Pension officials to speak to her about a benefits claim.

The house was seized by police for six months as part of a probe into Margaret's disappearance and the couple were temporarily kicked out.

Their back garden was excavated by a mechanical digger for evidence of Margaret and further searches carried out of a nearby wood and the Firth of Clyde.

An Inverclyde Council spokesman said: "Our priority is the safety of those living in the property. If renovation work is being carried out we would welcome that and will listen to the owner's position when the case comes before the sheriff later this month."

CAPTION(S):

unsafe The house in Inverkip is unfit for human habitation

order Jones and, below, Margaret

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:332
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