Glasgow & West Scotland

Lynda Spence trial: Murder accused 'held woman'

Lynda Spence
Image caption Ms Spence, whose body has never been found, was last seen in April 2011

One of the men accused of murdering missing financial adviser Lynda Spence told his former partner he had held her at a house, a court has heard.

Jacqueline Watt, 38, said David Parker told her he was "babysitting" a man but later admitted it was Ms Spence, who disappeared in April 2011.

Ms Watt told the High Court in Glasgow that she got a mortgage from Ms Spence.

Mr Parker, 38, Colin Coats, 42, Philip Wade, 42 and Paul Smith, 47, deny murdering Ms Spence.

All four are accused of abducting, torturing and murdering the 27-year-old at a flat at Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, between 14 and 28 April 2011.

Giving evidence, Ms Watt told the court that she got a mortgage from Ms Spence in 2009.

She described the missing financial advisor as a "dodgy broker" and said she and Mr Parker were watching publicity about Ms Spence's disappearance on the news when he told her "that's the him".

'Quite agitated'

She told the court: "I said, 'that's the lady that got me my mortgage, do you think she's either bumped the wrong person or done a runner because she owes so much money?'.

"David was quite agitated and he said, 'that's the him'.

"He had told me (previously) he was babysitting a man who was in trouble with money, keeping some man safe in a house. But he said it wasn't his house.

"I asked him, 'what do you mean that's the him?'. He said, 'it wasn't a him, it was a her'.

"He was saying, 'you don't understand, I can't tell you'. He was upset, agitated, scared. He was in fear.

"I just thought he was talking gibberish - he was out his nut."

Ms Watt said she was unable to get a mortgage on the high street, so she had to go to a "dodgy broker" - Ms Spence.

She said two other women who were getting mortgages at the same time paid £500 up front and "got bumped".

The witness said she was lucky to get hers.

Ms Watt also said Mr Parker accused her of "wearing a wire", but that she had told him, "you've been watching too much CSI".

Prison visit

She claimed the conversation about "babysitting" took place in April or May 2011, and that Mr Parker told her about it being Ms Spence in October that year, about a week before he was arrested in connection with her disappearance.

The court also heard that Ms Watt visited Mr Parker in Barlinnie prison on 23 December 2011, when he gave her information that he wanted passed to the police or his lawyer.

Ms Watt said she noted some of what was said on the back of a used envelope on the bus home.

The witness said Mr Parker told her Ms Spence had been wearing a purple hooded jumper, jeans and Hi-Tec trainers.

She had not known where Ms Spence was held but later found out it was Mr Parker's flat in Meadowfoot Road, West Kilbride, she said.

Ms Watt said Mr Parker relayed to her that he had seen a tool roll in the upstairs area of his property, which had a chisel and a hammer inside.

He is also said to have told her that Mr Coats and Mr Wade came and went in a yellow van, and that he presumed they had burned all of his things from the flat after taking them away in the van.

The list of notes on the envelope included the line "how they played him", as the court heard Mr Parker claimed he had no idea of what he was "getting himself into" when he agreed to his flat being used.

Jurors also heard Mr Parker told Ms Watt that threats had been made against her and her two sons, who were 11 and 14 at the time, by Mr Wade and Mr Coats.

"He told me that himself and Paul were babysitting," she said.

Threat claims

"They had been threatened, had pieces of blades put through their door and pictures of my 11-year-old and 14-year-old going to school.

"He basically had a gun to his head."

Under cross-examination, Gary Allan QC, defending Mr Wade, said: "Nobody had threatened you and your kids, this is something David Parker told you?"

Ms Watt responded: "What father would lie about his children being threatened?"

Mr Allan said: "He was attempting to persuade you to transmit this information, which would distance him from harming somebody, to the authorities."

Ms Watt also said Mr Parker told her he did not know what happened to Ms Spence, as she was gone when he got the keys back to his flat.

Mr Allan asked her: "You wouldn't want to see him convicted of murder because he is your son's father and your good friend?"

She replied: "He's not guilty of it. If he was guilty I would throw away the key."

The lawyer said: "You wouldn't know because you weren't there were you?", to which the witness answered: "I know him better than anyone knows him."

The trial before Lord Pentland continues.

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