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Murder trial told missing woman made dodgy deals

ALLEGED murder victim Lynda Spence lived the high life with other people's money, a jury has been told.

LYNDA SPENCE: Financial adviser lived the high life with other people's money, a witness has claimed.
LYNDA SPENCE: Financial adviser lived the high life with other people's money, a witness has claimed.

The High Court in Glasgow heard the financial adviser drank Cristal champagne and entertained friends lavishly at casinos and restaurants.

Her friend Amanda Robertson, 29, was giving evidence for a second day at the trial of David Parker, 37; Paul Smith, 47; Philip Wade, 42; and Colin Coats, 42, who deny abducting and then torturing Ms Spence at a flat in Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, between April 14 and 28, 2011.

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

Ms Robertson, who worked for Ms Spence at the latter's company Fraser Properties until September 2010, agreed many of her business dealings appeared dodgy.

The court heard Ms Robertson sent a text message to a friend about Ms Spence saying: "She'll never get what's coming. Just the people around her suffer."

She agreed with defence QC Derek Ogg, representing Coats, that Ms Spence had taken deposits of £3000 in cash per flat from 30 Chinese people for a development at Lochburn Gate, Glasgow.

Mr Ogg said: "No reservations fee had been paid for a single flat at Lochburn Gate by Ms Spence – what happened to the money?"

Ms Robertson replied: "She spent it."

The QC added: "We are talking about a considerable amount of money," and she said: "Yes."

Ms Robertson added that she had never seen Ms Spence do any banking of cash.

The jury was told Ms Spence was also involved in a scheme at Stansted Airport in London that she boasted would make her millions.

But the court heard nothing came of either that or another project in Spain.

The jury was told that after the airport deal fell through a man called John Glen began phoning repeatedly looking for Ms Spence.

At one point Ms Robertson said she was told to meet Mr Glen in Byres Road and hand over £15,000 in cash while he sat in his BMW X5.

Ms Robertson also told of being asked to fly to London with documents that she gave to a man known as "Uncle Ben" who she thought was Russian.

Ms Spence also borrowed money from the funeral fund of murder accused Colin Coats's parents and she had not paid her workers any wages. Mr Ogg said: "There were a number of people with a grievance against her," and she replied: "Yes."

Ms Robertson said she left Ms Spence's company Fraser Properties around September 2010, but continued to spy on her through her emails as she knew the password.

She said that after many years of being a loyal friend to Ms Spence, her attitude had changed. Mr Ogg asked her: "Did she have a nice personality?" Ms Robertson said: "Yes."

He said: "Although she was a compulsive lair, she was a very nice person," and she agreed.

The QC added: "Did she buy champagne, Cristal champagne, go to casinos and take people out for dinner, flash her money about?" Ms Robertson said: "Yes."

Ms Robertson said Coats was one of the people Ms Spence entertained and she said the last time she had seen the two of them together he had given Ms Spence a hug.

She revealed that on an earlier occasion Mr Coats had given Ms Spence cash and when she got back to her office in Great Western Road, Glasgow, she noticed that it was short.

Ms Robertson told Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC, prosecuting, that Ms Spence told her she was going to phone Mr Coats about it. She added: "When she came off the phone she said Colin was going to deal with it and said fingers were getting broken."

Asked about Ms Spence's attitude, Ms Thomson replied: "She wasn't angry. She was kind of laughing."

The court was told Ms Spence went to Albania to marry a man, Sokal Zerfrai, after breaking up with her female partner Kate Reilly.

Mr Ogg asked Ms Robertson: "When Lynda Spence told you she had married Sokal Zefraj, did she say that it was a marriage of convenience so that she could use his name?" She replied: "Yes."

He then said: "From your knowledge of Lynda and all the emails of hers that you spied on, was she someone who ripped people off?" and she said: "Yes."

The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues.

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