Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Men get life for 'monstrous' murder

Two men have been convicted of the murder of Lynda Spence, who disappeared in April 2011 (Strathclyde Police/PA)

Two men have been jailed for life for the "monstrous and barbaric" murder of missing businesswoman Lynda Spence, who vanished two years ago.

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 the abduction, torture and killing of the 27-year-old 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.

There were gasps from the public gallery as the men were handed their lengthy sentences. Both Wade and Coats bowed their heads and said nothing.

David Parker, 38, and Paul Smith, 47, who admitted holding Ms Spence at Parker's flat in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, were sentenced to 11 years and three months, and 11 years respectively.

They were originally charged with murder but their pleas of guilty to a reduced charge of detaining Ms Spence against her will, assaulting her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice were accepted by the Crown.

Throughout the 11-week trial, jurors heard how Ms Spence was forced into a car in Broomhill Path, Glasgow, on April 14 2011 and driven to Parker's property in Meadowfoot Road.

Coats and Wade immediately whisked her upstairs to the attic and taped her to a leather chair by the arms and waist. In the days that followed, the two men arrived every day to hurt her, as a way of trying to extract financial information from her.

The murdered woman's parents, James and Patricia Spence, were at the hearing. They said in a statement: "There is no verdict that will bring our daughter Lynda back or spare her the terrible ordeal that took her life.

"We will never begin to imagine her suffering or comprehend the cruelty of any person who would do that to another human being. We cannot begin to understand or forgive what they did to our daughter, Lynda. No words can begin to describe the heartache and pain we are suffering."

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