On April 12, 2023, Channel 5 aired the documentary regarding the gruesome murder of Lynda Spence, who was a resident of West Kilbride. The documentary examines what really happened and what motivated the killers to commit such a heinous crime that shook the entire Scottish community. Read the article to know all the details about the case and whether the body of Lynda was ever discovered or not.
The documentary first introduces us to the news that Lynda has been missing since April 13, 2011, when she was only 27 years old. We see different people saying that this real-life incident was like a work of fiction with fake bonds, Albanian connections, frauds, and whatnot. The scene shifts to a reporter reading that Lynda Spence owed “a six-figure sum to people in the criminal underworld,” and then the incident starts to unfold.
The scene shifts to 2022, where we see a news reporter saying that after 11 years of the murder of Lynda Spence, police have started again to look for her body in a remote area of Dunoon. Mike Edwards, the broadcast journalist, says that they hoped to find the remains of her body to bring closure to the case, which would provide solace to the Spence family. We see Colin Mackenzie, the family liaison officer for the Lynda Spence case, who tells us that her father and mother have not moved on from this event. A 2014 clipping of Patricia Spence, Lynda’s mother, is shown where she says how good her daughter was. The scene shifts to Mike Edwards, where he says that he was asked by the press officer to be present at the Anderston Police Station, a small outpost where he will have a one-on-one interview with a detective. The detective told him that he cannot tell much, but Mike understood that it was a big story. We are then introduced to Detective Alan Buchanan, who led the inquiry for the Lynda Spence case and was mentioned by Mike as a meticulous man. Detective Buchanan’s first take on the case was unusual, as there were no threads of information, to begin with.
The scene opens on June 11, 2011, two months after Lynda’s disappearance. With Lynda’s parents’ consent, Mike decided to get the news spread via the media to get some leads. We see Lynda’s mother and Detective Buchanan doing a press conference, and her mother’s condition shows what the family was going through. One of Lynda’s frequent acquaintances then tells us that, though she was jolly but underneath she seemed tensed all the time and always had piles of cash with her. Then we see tapes rolling of people who wanted to remain anonymous in the documentary saying that Lynda was very good at convincing people that she has some great investment opportunities; unfortunately, she all made these things up. In the meantime, Detective Buchanan was able to learn about an ongoing criminal investigation on Lynda by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, and it became clear she was not an ordinary person as she appeared in front of everybody. As the investigators dug deep, they found her business was bankrupt and she had huge debts. But her grandmother died at that time, and by selling her cottage, Lynda made a serious amount of money and started a company by the name of Frazers Property Management. She always maintained an expensive lifestyle so her clients would believe she would help them make money on their investments. Lynda convinced around 50 individuals in the Chinese Community who did not have proper financial documentation that she would give them apartments in certain areas of Glasgow and even took £3,500 as a down payment per individual but duped them all. Before her disappearance, she cooked up a story about a multi-million-pound land deal near Stansted Airport, and we also learn about an Iranian businessman here by the name of Uncle Ben who had connections with Lynda. There were several investors in this fictional deal who were hoping for a huge return, and some of them include John Glen and Colin Coats. Lynda Spence told all her investors that they would be paid in Danish bearer bonds in place of taxable cash, and created fake Danish bearer bonds at the nearest printer shop.
On March 11, 2011, she visited North Carolina in the hope of cashing those bonds, but none of the banks authenticated them. She returns back to Glasgow and starts receiving threatening messages from both John Glen and Colin Coats. She said it was Uncle Ben who was holding the money, and Coats started sending him threatening messages. Coats did not know that Lynda had set up a fake account by the name of Uncle Ben and that the messages were only getting to Lynda. We see then that there is growing tension with Lynda’s disappearance, and at this time, police find out about several mobile phones, cards, laptops, email accounts, and aliases in Lynda’s name. On June 2, 2011, one of Lynda’s phones was found in a dustbin in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, and there was a buzz in the media. From that phone, police recovered tons of evidence, and things started to point at Philip Wade, a small-time drug dealer, and Colin Coats, who knew each other very well. As the police focus their attention on Coats and Wade, two names further come out: David Parker and Paul Smith, who were then questioned by the police. They spill out that they were forced to look after Lydia by Coats and Wade and also assisted in her abduction.
Next, we know the police arrested Colin Coats, Philip Wade, David Parker, and Paul Smith. The trial for the abduction and murder of Lynda Spence begins in Glasgow High Court on January 14, 2013, and both media and the public flock to the courtroom. We see the introduction of Lesley Thomson KC, a former solicitor, who says it is more challenging of a case when there is no sign of the dead body. Gary Allan KC, the defense barrister, says that the case started with an element of mystery. Still, as of now, no one knew whether Lynda was alive or dead, and the police have contacted several agencies to find this out. There were reports of sightings of her, but that was before her disappearance date, and her mother also received texts of love that were quite unusual. A shift in the case happened when the court and the police received information from Interpol and Europol that Lynda was living in Albania. We are introduced here to an Albanian person by the name of Sokal Zefaj, who had an integral part in this trial and is suspected to be Lynda’s husband, whom she married at the age of 17. Zefaj denied this. Another major piece of information comes to light, where it is seen that the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency was going to recruit Lynda as an informant to infiltrate Sokal Zefaj’s crime organization. Shockingly, Zefaj comes to Glasgow High Court and tells about his dealings with Lynda, quashes the claim of suspicion against him, and just leaves. Glen was both worried and angry with Lynda when he knew he had been cheated on. But he went to Lynda’s office and took a bag of money from a cabinet, as there was no one in the office, and we came to know that it was Coats’s money. On April 26, 2011, Glen was called by Coats in a parking lot and threatened to kill him and his family if he did not return Coats’s money and also showed a severed finger of Lynda. Glen went to the police to tell them everything about this incident and also went to witness protection after the trial. We see several witnesses coming forward once Wade and Coats were in prison, and also the introduction of Tony Kelly, another key witness, who acted as a liaison between Coats and Lynda and also provided the court with solid evidence that it was Coats who killed Lynda. A guy by the name of Lee Winyard even confirmed that Wade and Coats asked for a boat, probably to dump Lynda’s body, but he refused to help them.
We see a stunning development in the case after this, where David Parker and Paul Smith became the key witnesses for the prosecution instead of being accused. Parker said that it was at his house where Lynda was brought and tortured by Coats and Wade. Fingers and toes were cut off, kneecaps were smashed, and some areas were burned. Detective Buchanan highlights that this has been by far the worst possible murder he has seen in his career. Though there was turmoil in court as forensic evidence was scarce, it was not justified to believe only in Parker and Smith’s statements. Luckily, the police found a single fingerprint and a blood stain in the house where Lynda was tortured, and the fingerprint matched with Coats while the blood was proven to be Lynda’s. Again, a dramatic turn of events happens here when Coats and Wade decide to provide evidence to the court, but it does not stick and sounds ridiculous. After 12 weeks of a long trial, the jury and the court found both Coats and Wade guilty on all the counts they were accused of. Smith and Parket got 11 years, while Coats got 33, and Wade had 30 years of imprisonment.
What Made Them Commit This Crime?
The heinous crime committed by Coats and Wade shows the dark and base nature of humanity. Lynda Spence’s body has not been recovered till date, and the inquiry is still open. The extent of violence humans can reach for a petty sum of money really questions the position of human beings in the Chain of Being. But the documentary also confirms that the law will not sit idly if found guilty and justice will be served.