POLICE are trying to piece together the last hours of a LibDem activist found dead in a Greenock hotel and her daughter who suffered severe injuries in what appears to be a double stabbing.

Foster carer Margaret McDonough, 52, died in hospital and her daughter, Nicola, 23, was left in a critical condition after both were discovered at the Premier Inn in Greenock, Inverclyde, on Friday morning with stab injuries.

Yesterday police were trying to establish their movements over several hours on Thursday evening in a bid to provide any clues to the tragedy.

Detectives have not said whether they are looking for anyone else in relation to the attacks.

Officers believe the pair, who lived in Paisley, had left the hotel shortly after checking in on Thursday afternoon around 3.50pm and did not return until around 12.30am to 1am.

About six hours later, a guest found Nicola McDonough, who had recently graduated with a degree in social work, badly injured in the hallway of the hotel.

Her mother, who had twice stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in council elections, was found inside a nearby room.

Police were last night focusing on trying to trace the movements of the pair and the motive for the crimes.

It is believed one important line of inquiry will be to establish why the mother and daughter were staying at the hotel, which is only about 17 miles away from the family home in Paisley.

Margaret McDonough, a divorced mother of five, was also seen "several times" in the Paisley area on Thursday morning until 10am.

She was also seen with her daughter in a red Suzuki Swift car that day – registration SL56 CBF – which had been left in the hotel car park and was taken away by police for forensic testing on Friday following the incident.

Officers were last night still waiting to speak to Nicola McDonough in the hope of obtaining further information.

She was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock following the incident but is still too unwell to be interviewed.

Nicola McDonough, who is a former pupil of St Andrew's Academy in Paisley, graduated from the University of the West of Scotland with a BA (Hons) in social work last month.

It is believed her mother worked as a foster carer with Renfrewshire Council.

Yesterday, Councillor Eileen McCartin, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Paisley, paid tribute to Margaret McDonough, describing her as a "friend and colleague" as well as a "strong woman" and a "loving mum".

She said: "My sympathies go out to all her family, and to Nicola especially, in the hope that she will recover from this terrible tragedy.

"I have known Margaret for many years. She was a strong woman, very committed to all she did, both personally and within politics, and her death is a tragic loss to us all.

"She was a longstanding member of our local Liberal Democrats, and stood twice for us in the local elections."

McCartin said she would miss her friend greatly, adding: "She was a kind and generous woman, and a loving mum to all her children and foster children."

On Friday, police and crime scene investigators spent about eight hours combing the Premier Inn for clues to the incident.

The main entrance to the hotel and the adjoining Brewers Fayre restaurant were cordoned off, with an officer taking details of all those who arrived and left the car park.

Yesterday, the only sign of the incident at the hotel was a police vehicle in the car park. Staff declined to comment, but confirmed that the hotel was open as normal.

Earlier a spokesman for the Premier Inn hotel said staff were helping police with their inquiries.

At the McDonoughs' home in a quiet and well-heeled residential street in Paisley, members of the family yesterday declined to talk about the tragedy.

Neighbours in the street also declined to comment.

Detective Inspector David Wagstaff, from Police Scotland, said the pair checked in to the hotel at about 3.50pm on Thursday before leaving a short time later, possibly returning between 12.30am and 1am on Friday.

"We are currently trying to piece together the movements of Margaret and Nicola on Thursday, May 9, until they were discovered with serious injuries at the Premier Inn in Greenock at 7am on Friday," he said.

"There have been several sightings of Margaret in the Paisley area on Thursday morning until about 10am.

"She and Nicola were also seen within a red-coloured Suzuki Swift car, registration number SL56 CBF, that day."

Detective Inspector Wagstaff added he would like to speak to anyone who saw the women or their vehicle between 9am on Thursday and 7am on Friday morning.