A con woman is behind bars after she convinced a mother and daughter, who later died in a suspected suicide pact, that they would be jailed for 20 years.

Linsey Cotton, 33, concocted an elaborate plot to woo RAF corporal Michael McDonough, 33, which left his mother, Margaret, and sister, Nicola, fearing they would be imprisoned.

The mother of two convinced the two women in a meeting at their house in Paisley on May 7 2013 they had broken the law.

She alleged they had breached a confidentiality clause relating to the medical treatment of a person whose identity she had made up. She said they would be jailed for 20 years.

Mrs McDonough and Nicola were thought to have been left petrified and tearful at the prospect of spending life in prison. The court heard Mrs McDonough was physically sick.

Three days later, Mrs McDonough, 52, and her 23-year-old student daughter were found badly injured from slash wounds at the Premier Inn in Greenock.

The former Liberal Democrat council candidate died soon after being found in the budget hotel.

Nicola, who was found unconscious in a corridor, lost her fight for life three days later. The deaths were treated as a suspected double suicide.

Cotton, of Addiewell, West Lothian, was remanded in custody at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday after she pled guilty obtaining money by fraud.

She created a complex web of lies which saw her con Michael McDonough out of nearly £5,000 and attempt to get a further £5,500 from him and his family.

Fifteen mobile phones, two laptops and two tablet computers were used by Cotton to convince the family that she was over a dozen different people.

She pretended to be a woman Mr McDonough fell in love with, the non-existent woman's siblings and parents, her nurse, her lawyer, her barrister and even government officials.

Cotton later introduced her true self to Mr McDonough, telling him she was the main point of contact for Steph.

But she also posed as numerous other people she had made up to contact him. While pretending to be Steph, said Cotton was like a mother figure to her.

The court heard that Mr McDonough joined online dating website Plenty of Fish in August 2011.

In May 2012 he received a message from a user called Stephanie Wilson or Johnstone.

Cotton had stolen her stepsister's daughter's pictures to use as Stephanie's profile picture and Mr McDonough began speaking to "Stephanie" regularly and they exchanged mobile numbers.

They began texting and phoning each other and their relationship grew to a point where Michael believed he was in a relationship with Stephanie, whom he knew as Steph.

Mr McDonough, who had never met the woman, bought her a £2,000 engagement ring.

He was unaware he was interacting with Cotton. She even wore the engagement ring when he met her, without him realising.

Posing as Steph, Cotton made up a host of excuses to postpone proposed meetings between her fictional alter ego and Mr McDonough.

She told him she been jailed for a breach of the peace over a fight with her non-existent's sister's boyfriend.

Cotton then posed as a family member to text Mr McDonough, telling him that Steph had confronted Jason and been brutally attacked by her.

She told him Steph was left with a broken jaw, fractured cheek, broken arm, suspected fractured skull and swelling on the brain.

While still posing as one of Steph's relatives, said Steph's injuries were so bad that she had to be admitted to hospital and undergo plastic surgery to correct the damage Jason had caused to her body.

That was the beginning of a series of physical problems which Cotton said befell Steph, from suffering three heart attacks and being dropped in a hospital bath to being subjected to numerous murder attempts by employees from a non-existent medical company called Biotech Scotland.

Cotton convinced Mr McDonough that Steph's medical care had been passed to Biotech and that she was included in a clinical trial which would ultimately cure all her medical problems.

But she said that Steph then became the subject of murder bids by rogue doctors who were trying to kill her as Biotech would receive a £100million payout if all the patients in the clinical trial died.

She said there was a government cover up.

She informed Mr McDonough that, due to the involvement of Biotech in Steph's medical care, he was the subject of a confidentiality agreement which meant he could not discuss the case with anyone.

But, the court heard, he confided in his mother, who told his sister, and she then told her former boyfriend.

Cotton said she was aware that the confidentiality agreement had been breached and went to the McDonough's family home for a meeting.

It was there that she made the threat they would be jailed.

Mr McDonough sent texts to Steph saying he could never forgive his mum or his sister for breaching the confidentiality clause.

Cotton also said she could make the case disappear with the help of a lawyer if they gave her £5,000. She also said she could organised a fake passport for Nicola for £500, so she could leave the country.

The court heard Mr McDonough suffered stress during the 11 month ordeal.

Sheriff Robert Fife heard Cotton had changed her Facebook status to "in a relationship" throughout her fraud, telling friends and family she was engaged to Mr McDonough.

Despite not being in a relationship with Cotton and believing he was engaged to Steph, Mr McDonough moved in with Cotton at one point as it would be easier for them to deal with the issues surrounding Steph's medical care.

As well as fixing the laminate flooring, skirting boards and painting and wallpapering Cotton's home, Mr McDonough gave her £4,910 over the year, along with a Blackberry and an iPhone.

Defence solicitor Gerry Bann asked Sheriff Robert Fife to release Cotton on bail, saying she was not a flight risk or a threat to the public and had two children, aged 15 and 11.

But Sheriff Fife ruled the case was so serious he had to remand Cotton in custody.

He deferred sentence until next month and called for her to be assessed by social workers ahead of the hearing.

Margaret, a foster carer with Renfrewshire Council, was rushed to Inverclyde Royal Hospital for treatment after she was found injured at the Premier Inn.

The mother of four, who stood for the LibDems in Johnstone in 2012, and died a few hours later.

Charity worker and social work graduate Nicola, who had also been slashed and was found slumped in the hallway of the hotel, was also rushed to hospital.

She was in a critical condition for three days before losing her fight for life and sadly passing away.