A man who had been due to stand trial for a second time accused of murdering his mother 19 years ago has been found dead in Spain.
Sean Flynn, 38, was expected to appear at the High Court in Livingston this week accused of murdering Louise Tiffney.
She was 43 and also the mother of a six-year-old girl when she disappeared after an argument with her Flynn at home Edinburgh, in May 2002.
Flynn, then 18, reported her missing the next day, and the search for her was one of the largest in Police Scotland’s history.
As he was about to stand trial for a second time over his mother’s death, police were told that a 38-year-old man was found dead in Alicante.
Formal identification of the body has yet to take place but Flynn’s family have been informed.
Ms Tiffney had disappeared days before Flynn was convicted of causing the deaths of his cousin Paul Ross and best friend Christopher Magee, both 18, by dangerous driving.
During their investigation, officers found blood matching Ms Tiffney’s DNA in the boot of a car that Flynn drove, as well as mud.
Mobile phone records also showed Flynn was in East Lothian, where her body was later found in 2017, when he had claimed to be about 20 miles away in Edinburgh.
Flynn was still in Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution in February 2004, serving his sentence for the fatal car crash, when he was first accused of murdering his mother.
Prosecutors alleged that Flynn killed his mother after an argument about the crash and his relationship with an older woman.
Flynn’s lawyers said his mother had likely taken her own life. He was cleared by jury.
Neighbours had reported that they had heard arguments on the night that Ms Tiffney went missing.
Tiffney’s remains were found in a 60,000-acre woodland near stately home Gosford House in Longniddry, East Lothian, in April 2017.
Prosecutors applied for permission for a retrial under double jeopardy legislation, which came into force in 2011 and allows a person to be retried for a crime for which they were previously acquitted.
Last year, judges quashed the previous verdict and authorised a fresh prosecution on charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by putting her body in the boot of a car and disposing of the body.
But Flynn failed to arrive at the High Court in Livingston, and a warrant for his arrest was made on Tuesday.
On Friday, his solicitor Aamer Anwar said in a statement that he was advised that Flynn “was according to the police found dead in Spain, after taking his own life”.
He added: “Until recently Mr Flynn had resided in Berlin. Any loss of life is a tragedy. Sean Flynn’s next of kin has been informed and there will be no further comment.”
A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) spokesman said: “COPFS are aware of the reports concerning the death of Sean Flynn and are awaiting official confirmation from the Spanish authorities.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We were notified by Spanish police on Thursday October 21 about the death of a 38-year-old man in the Alicante region.
“Formal identification is still to be carried out however the family of Sean Flynn have been informed.
“We will continue to work with the Spanish police to establish the full circumstances, but at this time the death is not believed to be suspicious.”