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Missing Lynda's pinkie tip and thumb 'were cut off'

MISSING financial adviser Lynda Spence was held captive for up to 12 days and had her thumb and the tip of her pinkie cut off, a court heard.

INTERVIEW: DC Pamela McCowie.
INTERVIEW: DC Pamela McCowie.

Jurors in the murder trial at the High Court in Glasgow were yesterday played a recording of a police interview with one of the four accused.

David Parker, 37, Paul Smith, 47, Philip Wade, 42, and Colin Coats, 42, deny abducting and torturing Ms Spence at a flat in Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, between April 14 and 28, 2011.

It is claimed they murdered her on April 28, 2011, after torturing her to obtain financial information. It is claimed they cut off her head and disposed of her body.

During his interview at Saltcoats police station on October 31, 2011, Smith told detectives he was asked by Coats and Wade if he could provide a safe house for Ms Spence, who owed somebody money, until she got a passport.

Smith said: "I was kind of hoodwinked. I was doing a favour and it kind of turned sour."

The court was told Ms Spence was going to stay at Parker's house in West Kilbride in what Smith claimed had been described to him as "babysitting".

In his interview, which lasted about 10 hours, Smith said Ms Spence was brought to Parker's flat by Coats and Wade.

He said: "She had dark sunglasses and Colin Coats guided her up the stairs."

Smith claimed in his interview that during the whole time in the attic area of the flat Ms Spence was bound to a computer chair by gaffer tape.

He said he and Parker gave her cups of tea and soup, but were told not to let her out of the chair, not even to go to the toilet.

Smith told the detectives conducting the interview, DC Pamela McCowie and DC Michael Neill, that Coats beat Ms Spence a couple of times while questioning her about bank accounts, but he had not witnessed the attacks.

He alleged Coats also cut off the tip of her pinkie during a visit with Wade and then returned alone later and cut off her thumb.

Smith said that as he left the flat on the later occasion Coats made a thumbs-up sign and gestured as if he had something in his pocket.

Smith went on: "He thought it was funny."

DC Neill asked Smith: "Was he laughing?" and he replied: "More or less."

He added that on the occasions when he thought Ms Spence had had her finger and thumb cut off he heard a "muffled scream". He also said he saw Ms Spence's pinkie and thumb covered in surgical tape but said he saw no blood.

During his police interview Smith is asked: " We are saying this started on April 14, 2011. How long does this go on for?" He replied: "I would say 10 to 12 days."

Later on in the interview Smith is told: "You have spent 12 days with a woman who is bound and gagged in a chair getting her fingers cut off," and is then asked what he thought had happened to her and replied: "I think she was probably murdered by Colin Coats."

In the interview, Smith also said Ms Spence told him it was to do with bearer bonds in the Cayman Islands. He was asked how much of Coats's money was missing and replied: "She said £3.2 million."

Smith told detectives he and Parker were told they could leave shortly after the alleged cutting-off of the thumb.

He said: "Colin and Phil said 'look, you can go. There's guys from London coming up to talk to Lynda'. We were quite relieved. She was alive. There were injuries on her. She wasn't dead. She was compos mentis."

Judge Lord Pentland told the jury the police statement by Smith is not admissible as evidence against his co-accused. All four accused deny the charges against them.

The trial continues.

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