Victim 'in debt to crime gangs'

A missing businesswoman was burned with a steam iron and had her kneecaps broken with a golf club during a torture session, according to a man who denies murdering her, a court has heard.

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David Parker, 38, told police that she was held at his flat in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, in April 2011 after he was offered £1500.

One of his co-accused, Colin Coats, 42, told police the financial adviser, who vanished in April 2011, owed thousands of pounds to well-known criminals.

He told officers she had taken money from the Chinese community and was involved in getting fake passports for Eastern Europeans.

Detective Constable Alexander McEwan, 42, of Strathclyde Police, told the jury at the High Court in Glasgow that he wrote down a number of figures during the meeting on June 6 2011, but Coats refused to give an official statement.

Mr McEwan said: "There's figures that Colin Coats said Lynda Spence owed to various well-known criminals in Glasgow that he said he had now incurred the debts for."

Mr McEwan said Coats talked about "power of attorney" during the discussion and mentioned figures of £90,000 and £150,000.

"There's mention of people in the Chinese community being owed £175,000," he said. "There's mention of other well-known criminals."

Derek Ogg QC, defending Coats, asked Mr McEwan: "Lynda Spence owed him [Coats] a heck of a lot of money?" Mr McEwan agreed.

Coats is on trial with Philip Wade, 42, Paul Smith, 47, and Parker for abducting, torturing and murdering 27-year-old Ms Spence.

They are accused of holding her hostage for up to a fortnight and assaulting her in a bid to extract financial information from her.

They deny the charges.

Ms Spence ran Fraser Property Management from premises on Glasgow's Great Western Road, a former employee told the court later.

Financial adviser Tony Kelly, 46, described it as "absolute chaos" due in part to Ms Spence's timekeeping and failure to keep clients informed. The witness said Coats, who he described as an IT consultant, became involved in deals with Ms Spence after he introduced the pair in the summer of 2010.

He said she would borrow cash from Coats for deposits and return it with interest.

Mr Kelly said Ms Spence told him of a land deal at Stansted airport involving a man named Uncle Ben.

She said she was going to get paid £6million in bearer bonds for her part, he told the court, but ran into difficulty trying to get the bonds authenticated.

The trial continues.

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