A WOMAN allegedly told a former council candidate and her daughter, that they would be sent to jail unless they gave her £5,500.

Margaret and Nicola McDonough were discovered severely injured at the Premier Inn in Greenock two years ago and a room they had booked into was bloodstained. They died later in hospital.

Mother-of-two Linsey Cotton appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday(wed). She is alleged to have said they would be imprisoned for 20 years, and that Nicola McDonough, 23, would be attacked in jail, unless they handed over the money.

Ms Cotton, 32, is charged with making threats towards former Paisley Liberal Democrat candidate Margaret, 52, and her children Nicola, Kevin, 35, and Michael, 34, between May 1 and 16, 2013.

Ms Cotton allegedly told the mother and daughter they would be jailed because they had breached a "confidentiality clause" in relation to medical treatment being received by a woman called Stephanie Wilson or Johnstone.

Prosecutors allege that Wilson is a fictitious name, made up by Cotton when she created a fake online dating profile.

She denies repeatedly contacting former RAF man Michael McDonough using the profile, talking to him and his family while pretending to be Stephanie Wilson.

She has also pleaded not guilty to informing him and his family that he was in a relationship with Wilson and pretending that she was various people who knew Wilson, all of whom she made up.

She has also pleaded not guilty to repeatedly pretending to Mr McDonough and his family that Wilson had been seriously injured, had medical conditions, was seriously ill and was receiving treatment at various hospitals and from a drug company called Biotech.

She is also alleged to have told the McDonough family that Wilson needed resources and money to make sure she received the care and support she required.

The indictment against Ms Cotton also alleges she said "a confidentiality clause" was in force which restricted the release of information about Wilson and that it may be easier for Mr McDonough to see her if he were to get engaged to her.

Cotton also denies introducing herself to Mr McDonough and the rest of his family as one of Wilson's friends, telling them a number of people were trying to harm her, and pretending there was a court case involving Wilson which could see the McDonoughs given compensation if they provided statements and evidence.

The Crown claim she pocketed £6,685 in cash and a host of items, such as mobile phones, jewellery, household goods, appliances, services and an engagement ring.

They claim she obtained the items by fraud between May 1 2012, and May 22 2013 through her dealings with the McDonough family.

Ms Cotton also denies attempting to defeat the ends of justice by deleting electronic data on mobile phones and other devices and destroying paperwork.

She is also said to have tried to get Mr McDonough to help her destroy evidence and provide a false version of events to the authorities.

In court, Ms Cotton denied the three charges against her, obtaining money, goods and services by fraud, attempted extortion and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. Almost 150 witnesses are due to give evidence during the four-week trial.

Margaret McDonough, a foster carer with Renfrewshire Council, died hours after she was taken to hospital. Her daughter, who was found with slash wounds in a corridor, died three days after the incident.

Sheriff James Spy adjourned the case until August.