THE YOUNGER sister of Maggie Smythe has told a jury of her family’s desperate search for her.

Bus station cleaner Maggie, aged 29, was missing for several days in January before part of her body was found beneath a pile of rubble at the derelict Red Bridge Tavern, Breightmet.

Her former partner Christopher Taylor is on trial at Bolton Crown Court accused of her murder — he has admitted manslaughter. His brother, Brian Ottley, aged 29, denies assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.

On the second day of evidence, tearful Tammy Smythe took the witness stand and told how she had last seen her sister Maggie on Thursday January 24 when she came to her home to collect her hair straighteners.

It was 4.45pm and Maggie was on her way to work.

“She seemed absolutely fine to you?” asked Gaias Gozem QC, prosecuting.

“Yes,” replied Miss Smythe.

She last spoke to Maggie on the phone at 9pm the following day, but on Saturday evening their mother, Susan Smythe told her that the mum-of-three was missing.

Miss Smythe told the jury that her sister “absolutely loved her job” so she was alarmed when she contacted the bus station to be told she had not turned up and so contacted police.

On the Saturday night, Miss Smythe said she spoke to Brian Ottley who lived in Greenroyd Avenue with his brother, 40-year-old Christopher Taylor, who was Maggie's ex-partner.

Ottley asked her: "Do you know where she [Maggie] is? It's unusual isn't it?"

Then at 1am on the Sunday she sent a text to Ottley informing him that Maggie's boyfriend, Chris Whitehead had received a message from Maggie just before she went missing stating that Christopher Taylor wanted to talk to her, claiming it was "in her best interests".

Tammy Smythe told Ottley: "Its your Chris that wanted to talk and if he knows anything he needs to tell us."

Ottley replied denying that Taylor had any information.

Cross examined by Alistair Webster QC, for Taylor, Miss Smythe told how Maggie had been dropped on her head as a child and, as a result, suffered seizures when she was knocked.

Also giving evidence, builder Alan Farnworth told how Taylor, who he employed as a labourer, had access to the Red Bridge Tavern. They were gradually converting it to residential accommodation for its owner and it was used to store tools and materials.

Mr Farnworth told how he had felt sorry for Taylor, who had a chaotic lifestyle, particularly with women.

He said he knew Taylor would stay at the former pub when he had been thrown out by a girlfriend and his employee regarded it as a "bolthole".

After Maggie's disappearance police asked him to visit the pub and he noticed that a hosepipe he had left inside the building was now coiled up outside and a boarded up first floor doorway had been smashed.

The trial continues.