The mother of convicted fraudster Linsey Cotton whose elaborate fraud drove two of her victims to commit suicide is unable to forgive her daughter for her callous actions.

Cotton last week admitted to concocting an elaborate fraud that led to Margaret McDonough, 52, and her daughter Nicola, 23, taking their own lives at the Premier Inn in Greenock.

Cotton's mother, Isabel Wilson, 64, said that she had been shocked by her daughter's behaviour. "We'd no idea of any of this and I will never understand what she's done," Wilson told a Sunday newspaper. "People are shouting 'murderer' at my grandchildren in the street."

The McDonoughs died in an apparent suicide pact after Cotton demanded £5000 in extortion money, telling the mother and daughter that they would go to jail for breaching confidentiality laws regarding medical records if they did not pay. Cotton had targeted RAF Corporal Michael McDonough, Mrs McDonough's son, embroiling him in her scheme by making him think he was in a relationship with a woman called Steph who did not exist.

Paisley Sheriff Court last week heard how Cotton convinced Corporal McDonough that "Steph" was undergoing specialist medical treatment and had been the victim of a murder bid by a rogue doctor during a clinical trial which would have led to a £100m pay out as long as a confidentiality agreement wasn't breached. She then accused Corporal McDonough's mother and sister of doing so and demanding money from them.

Cotton's mother said she knew nothing of what was going on until Cotton was arrested. "I'm in total shock that I have a family member that could do something like this. I'll never get my head around it," Isabel Wilson told the Sunday newspaper.

She also said of her daughter: "Clearly, there are mental health issues. She's done wrong and deserves to be punished.

"I can never forgive her but I don't blame her for everything. I don't think she was all to do with the deaths.

"But I don't think we will ever know the truth."

Meanwhile, a former partner of Cotton's has revealed that he was almost driven to suicide by the fraudster.

Again talking in a Sunday paper Gordon Johnstone, 41, from West Lothian, said that Cotton had become friendly with him after telling him that her teenage niece "Steph" fancied him. Cotton then started a relationship with Mr Johnstone, told him she was pregnant and claimed that she was a gun runner and a drug courier for Glasgow gangsters and he might be targeted.

When Mr Johnstone threatened to break up with her she claimed she was suffering from breast cancer and then that her daughter had leukaemia.

"Because of her I went from a lively outgoing guy to a paranoid wreck afraid of my own shadow," he said.

"Like her later victims, I considered ending it all too."