Lynda Spence was portrayed in court as a con artist who spent other people’s money like it was her own. For a time, she lived a lavish lifestyle, eating at expensive restaurants and throwing back glasses of expensive champagne at bars, strip clubs and casinos.
The 27-year-old was generous with her cash, often paying for friends on nights out. She was confident and charming, making her likeable, and a lot of people trusted her with thousands of pounds of their money. But Ms Spence was a “deal junkie”. When she saw an opportunity to get hold of some fast cash, she took it.
At the time of her disappearance in April 2011, Lynda Spence was being investigated by Strathclyde Police over claims that she had defrauded about 30 people in Glasgow. This involved a property development known as Lochburn Gate in Maryhill, for which Ms Spence is thought to have collected about £175,000 in deposits.
Ms Spence’s Great Western Road business, Fraser Property Management, was set up using money her parents gave her from the sale of her grandmother’s bungalow. But her life started to unravel as the company went under.
Former schoolfriend and employee, Amanda Robertson, told how unhappy customers often came in demanding their money back and how staff there were rarely paid. When the business folded, Ms Spence’s parents’ money went with it. They were made temporarily homeless when their daughter stopped paying their rent, as was the agreement when they helped her start up the firm.
Ms Spence used a number of aliases, is said to have been involved in getting fake UK passports for people from eastern Europe and owed thousands of pounds to “various well-known criminals”.
She was in the process of becoming a police informer for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency – which had authorised her to report back about the apparent criminal conduct of a former partner, Sokal Zefaj, and three others.
Ms Spence got the seal of approval from the agency on 14 April – the day she was abducted. It was pointed out at the trial that despite learning much about Ms Spence’s life, jurors still did not know “the half of” what she was involved in.