However, their hope is that one day they will be able to lay her to rest.
Only Gilroy will be able to ease their suffering, but he gave no hint he would break a two-year silence as he was led to the cells at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Gilroy had protested his innocence since the day Ms Pilley disappeared, but when police found make-up on the back of his hands two days later, on 6 May, 2010, hiding recent injuries, it was the turning point in the entire investigation. From that moment on, he was a key suspect and the net slowly closed.
His wife, Andrea, dropped her head as the word “guilty” was spoken by the jury’s spokesperson. In a statement later, she insisted he was innocent.
Gilroy nodded in her direction and mouthed something as he was taken away to begin a life sentence, but she declined to comment to the media on leaving the court.
• Suzanne ‘seemed happy’ the day she vanished
“This day has been a long time coming but finally Suzanne has received the justice she deserved,” it said.
“As a family, we continue to struggle to come to terms with losing her. We have lost our daughter, but her memory lives on in everyone who knew her. Suzanne was a devoted daughter, a supportive friend and an exemplary colleague at work.
“We would like to express our gratitude to every police officer involved in the investigation and to [prosecutor] Alex Prentice and his team for their efforts in bringing this case to a conclusion.
His family issued a statement, saying: “We are devastated about the verdict. The family has always believed in David’s innocence and continue to do so.”
• Gilroy’s string of pleading voicemails stopped when Suzanne went missing
Mr Prentice QC said Gilroy’s contract with IML had been terminated in July 2010. He joined the firm in January 2009, and became Scottish regional operations manager. Previously, he had served 11 years in the Royal Navy as an engineer. He had no previous criminal record.
Ms Pilley was a book-keeper and started at IML in January 2008. She hoped to get married and start a family, something she “had always craved”, Mr Prentice said.
The prosecution was based on several pieces of circumstantial evidence. Mr Prentice conceded that, individually, the pieces could amount to very little, and may have an innocent as well as an incriminating explanation.
The relationship between Gilroy and Ms Pilley had been “turbulent”, and he had shown himself to be jealous and possessive. She had started to see another man and spent her last night alive with him. The next morning, she disappeared only yards from the offices where she and Gilroy worked.
That day, workmates said he was sweaty and clammy, as if in shock, and agitated and shaking, and rarely at his desk. He was seen hanging around a door to an internal staircase that led to the basement garage. He made an excuse of collecting papers, which were not immediately required, to go home and bring his car to the garage.