Lynda Spence: Former accused breaks down in court

Lynda Spence. Picture: PA/ Strathclyde Police
Lynda Spence. Picture: PA/ Strathclyde Police
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A MAN who admitted guarding a missing businesswoman alleged to have been murdered broke down in tears as he told a court about what happened to her.

David Parker said he heard Lynda Spence cry out “no Colin” moments after murder accused Colin Coats told him: “I’m taking her thumb.”

He said Coats and co-accused Philip Wade arrived at his flat in Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, where Ms Spence was being held, “every day, systematically,” and inflicted violence on her.

As he wept in the witness stand at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, Parker was asked by solicitor general Lesley Thomson QC, prosecuting: “Are you thinking about what happened to Ms Spence at the moment?”

Parker nodded in reply.

Parker, 38, was accused of murdering the 27-year-old financial adviser who has not been seen since April 2011, along with Paul Smith, 47. But they were cleared of murder last week after they pled guilty to holding Ms Spence against her will, assaulting her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. Parker and Smith will be sentenced at a later date.

Coats and Wade, both 42, are still on trial accused of abducting, torturing and murdering Ms Spence, which they deny.

Giving evidence for the Crown, Parker said he was approached by Smith at the start of April 2011, who asked if it was possible to let his flat out for a couple of days.

He said he agreed and that he was not living at the Meadowfoot Road property since October 2010 because of problems with flooding.

In the days that followed he was picked up in a red BMW car by Coats, Wade and Smith and the four men went to the flat, the witness told the court.

He was asked to remove photographs and anything with his name on it from the attic of the property, jurors heard.

On 14 April, Coats and Wade arrived with Ms Spence, immediately taking her up to the attic. Parker said he could hear “raised voices and muffled cries”.

When the two murder accused left, he went upstairs and saw Ms Spence taped to a chair by her waist and arms, with her mouth taped over.

Ms Thomson asked the witness: “What state were you in?”

Parker replied: “Shocked, scared, frightened. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t really believe what was happening.

“I said to Paul ‘what is this?’ He told me these guys were quite heavy guys. I really wanted to try and get her help but I saw how scared Paul was.”

Parker said Coats and Wade usually arrived at the flat together but that on one occasion Coats came alone and was “really angry”.

Parker told the jury: “(Coats) said ‘I’m taking her thumb’. He took a plastic bag out his pocket and unravelled it, and he said again ‘I’m going to take her thumb’. He went up the stairs. You could hear Lynda. I heard her cry out ‘no Colin’. Then it kind of cut off.

“He came back down to the living room and pointed towards his pocket and gave us a look just like he had went through with what he had said he was going to do.”

The witness then said he went up to the attic and could see tape round Ms Spence’s hand but “nothing where her thumb was supposed to be”.

During the period Parker claims Ms Spence was held there, she also had injuries inflicted to both her hands, her toes, bruising around her face and complained that her legs were sore, the witness said.

When asked what Ms Spence had told him, the witness said: “She just said she wished she hadn’t got herself into that mess.

“I tried to tell her ‘look, tell these guys what they want to know, get this finished’.”

On another occasion, Parker said he heard Ms Spence say to Smith: “Do you think Colin and Phil will ever let me go?”