A documentary is aiming to shed new light on the mystery of a monk who disappeared from a north-east monastery.
Father Maurus Deegan was never seen again after he left Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin, to go for his daily walk in May 2005.
Despite a massive search of the secluded area, no trace was ever found of the 93-year-old who had poor eyesight and was hard of hearing.
No possible explanation for his disappearance was ever put forward by his friends and the rest of the Benedictine community – leaving police to draw a black as to what happened.
Now filmmaker Christopher Court wants to refresh memories of the mystery as part of a documentary about Pluscarden Abbey.
The 26-year-old has tracked down former Press and Journal reporters who covered the case as well as locals close to the abbey and spoken to the monks themselves to investigate theories put forward to solve the case – including that he was taken away in a car, took unwell and was unable to raise the alarm or walked to a secluded spot to die in solitude.
Mr Court said: “When I started I never thought I would actually find out what happened to Father Maurus but by tiptoeing around trying to work out all the theories I really got to explore the monks’ monastic faith in a different way.
“It’s a light-hearted film, although it’s a serious subject, because I think I would be doing the monks a disservice if I did it otherwise given how they spoke about Father Maurus and their views on the world.
“I really wanted to show that different side to them.”
Mr Court initially travelled to the Moray monastery in December 2016 to seek a peaceful retreat to escape from London to concentrate on his filmmaking studies.
However, after falling in love with the region the documentary-maker turned his back on life in the south of England and now lives near Elgin.
The finishing touches are currently being made to the film with local screenings being planned for November and December.
Mr Court added: “While Father Maurus going missing was very sad, which the monks spoke very respectfully about, it doesn’t mean they don’t have some fun when talking about other stuff.”
Father Maurus Deegan
Father Maurus Deegan was one of the original five Pluscarden Pioneers who reformed the monastery in 1948.
The team was a select group of monks from Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire who were hand-picked due to their crafting skills to restore the Moray abbey.
For several months the hardy group lived in tents while repairs were carried out on the buildings, which had been abandoned for nearly 400 years.
Father Maurus was the last survivor from the group that brought monastic life back to the north of Scotland.
The 93-year-old was last seen wearing his habit on his daily walk which regularly took in roads and woodland trails on May 12, 2005 – initially about a mile from the abbey on the Westerton Estate and then later on the Pluscarden to Forres road.
His disappearance prompted a massive investigation involving about 40 police officers which lasted for five days before follow-up searches during the following year.
However, no trace of him was ever found and a special requiem mass was held in his honour to coincide with the first anniversary of his disappearance.
Police believed the most likely explanation is that Father Maurus took ill on his walk and was unable to call for help.