Lynda Spence: Two Jailed For Torture Murder
Two men have been jailed for life for murdering a woman who they locked up and tortured over a two week period.
Lynda Spence, 27, was tied to a chair and had her thumb and little finger cut off, her hands burned with an steam iron and her knee caps broken with a golf club.
Colin Coats and Philip Wade tortured and killed her after she conned them out of large amounts of money. Lynda's body has never been found.
One of her murderers boasted he suffocated her and severed her head.
Colin Coats, 42, was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years in prison at the High Court in Glasgow as a judge branded him "devious and cruel" and concluded that he was the "prime mover" in Ms Spence's murder in April 2011.
Co-accused Philip Wade, also 42, was ordered to spend at least 30 years behind bars after being convicted of the same charge.
The financial adviser, from Glasgow, had duped a number of clients out of money to fund an expensive lifestyle. Coats was scammed for £85,000 on a non-existent property deal and she conned Wade's family out of £2,000.
The murder trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard how the pair, both aged 42, abducted Lynda on April 14, 2011, and took her to the attic of a flat in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire.
Wade carried a "torture kit" into the flat - a bag containing garden loppers, bandages, surgical tape and a bucket.
Lynda was tied to a chair with tape and wasn't allowed to leave the chair, being forced to defecate and urinate where she sat.
The pair recruited two local drug-addicts whom they knew to watch over Lynda, between their daily visits.
Wade, at 6'6", was too tall to stand comfortably in the squalid attic but would watch as Coats carried out the torture.
Lynda had one of her toes crushed with the loppers and her thumb cut off, as well as the tip of a finger. She was burned on the hands with a hot steam iron and hit on the legs with a golf club.
After she had been held for around a fortnight, Lynda was killed and her body dumped. Her body has never been discovered despite extensive searches and the police remain unsure how she was murdered.
However, Coats has since boasted to a cellmate about the murder. Peter Hadley, 28, said: "He said he had killed her, she had tape over her mouth and he held her nose until she died."
Coats said he "took personal satisfaction" because she owed him money and that, after she died, he cut her head off.
Coats and Wade had then driven in Lynda's silver Vauxhall Astra to Tignabruich, in Argyll and Bute, and asked a friend to lend them a boat, saying: "We have got something to get rid of." Neither the car nor Lynda's body has ever been found.
Throughout her ordeal, Lynda was questioned by her killers for financial information.
Her answers led them to property developer John Glen, who Coats then contacted and threatened by showing him Lynda's thumb.
Mr Glen informed the police and that gave them the vital lead in the investigation into Lynda's disappearance.
The two men recruited to 'babysit' Lynda between torture sessions, 47 year-old Paul Smith and David Parker, 38, were originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault and holding the businesswoman against her will.
They told detectives what had happened inside the flat. When forensic officers examined the property, it was clear that an extensive clean-up operation had taken place which included ripping up and replacing floorboards.
However, crucially, the killers had failed to notice a small spot of Lynda's blood beside the bath. It was the only trace of her found in the flat. Coats' fingerprint was also found on the bathroom door.
Mobile phone records also tracked their journey to Tignabruich.
Parker and Smith were sentenced to 11 years and three months, and 11 years respectively.
Coats was well-known to police before the investigation into Ms Spence's murder. In September 2010, he was convicted of an air-rage attack in which he punched a fellow passenger and kicked a crew member on an Easyjet flight from Glasgow.
In 1999, he was fined after being convicted of beating up his ex-wife. A year later, the Rangers fan was given a suspended prison sentence after beating up a Celtic fan in a London pub.
In 2008, he was given two years probation for assaulting his ex-wife's sister and beating up an elderly man who had stopped to intervene.