Two killers who tortured and murdered a woman at a flat in West Kilbride have lost their appeal against conviction and the length of jail-terms received.
Colin Coats from Glasgow and Philip Wade of Glengarnock (both aged 43) were given life-sentences when convicted in April 2013 at the High Court in Glasgow: a minimum term of 33 years was imposed on Coats, while Wade must serve at least 30 years.
Both were found guilty of abducting, torturing and murdering 27 year-old financial advisor Lynda Spence. Ms Spence was last seen near her parents’ home in Glasgow on April 14 2011: her body has never been found.
The original trial heard that Coats and Wade held Lynda Spence at a flat in Meadowfoot Road in West Kilbride and had tortured her while she was taped to a chair. In harrowing evidence, it was described how Ms Spence had been repeatedly hit with golf clubs, was burned with an iron and had one of her thumbs cut off.
It was claimed by the Crown in the original trial that Ms Spence was abducted, brutally beaten and killed because Colin Coats had given the Glasgow woman a number of loans, totalling around £85,000, which had not been repaid.
In appealing the conviction and sentence, legal representatives for Coats and Wade claimed Lord Pentland, the original trial judge, had erred by refusing defence objections to evidence that Wade had previously spoken to others about the alleged killing of a man. Defence counsel also argued that the Prosecution had failed to give adequate disclosure of the fact that Lynda Spence was a police informer, specifically for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, a panel of Scotland’s most senior judges, sitting at the Court of Criminal Appeal, today (July 29) found the evidence against Coats and Wade in the original trial had been “overwhelming” and that there had been no miscarriage of justice. The appeals of both men were dismissed.