The trial of Colin Coats and Philip Wade for the abduction, torture and murder of Lynda Spence is one of the most disturbing ever held at the High Court in Glasgow.

Financial advisor Ms Spence endured almost two weeks of hell at the merciless hands of the killers.

They took her to the attic of a flat in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, bound her to a chair with tape, put tape over her mouth to stop her screams and placed glasses with taped-up lenses over her eyes.

The killers used an iron, a golf club, cigarettes and bolt cutters as Ms Spence sat blindfolded in terror and defenceless.

Coats also used Ms Spence’s mobile and email accounts to pretend to her family and friends that she was alive and well.

They even hired two small-time crooks, David Parker and Paul Smith, to guard her between the lengthy torture sessions.

Their aim was to force Ms Spence to tell what she had done with money she owed Coats in a bogus land deal.

Glasgow Times: Killers Philip Wade and Colin CoatsKillers Philip Wade and Colin Coats

Killers: Philip Wade and Colin Coats

Coats believed he had been ripped off and wanted revenge and his money back. 

It's not known if Ms Spence ever told the men what they wanted to know.

One thing is certain she would not live to tell the tale.

Ms Spence was finally murdered around April 28, 2011, and Coats is believed to have cut off her head before disposing of her body.

Her worried parents, Patricia and Jim, reported her missing on May 13 and anguished appeals were made to the public for information.

READ MORE: Life in prison for Lynda Spence killers

Coats became a prime suspect and was placed under surveillance, but detectives found witnesses were too scared speak out.

The breakthrough came on August 16, after Coats left one witness so terrified for his life that he went to the police.

On October 28, 2011, six months after Ms Spence was murdered, officers smashed their way into the West Kilbride flat. 

Police found a spot of Ms Spence’s blood on the bathroom floor and his fingerprint on the door handle.

Mobile phone evidence also placed Coats and Wade in West Kilbride throughout Ms Spence’s ordeal.

As a result both men stood trial in April 2013 accused of abduction, torture and murder, despite there being no body.

READ MORE: Murder investigators prepare to search land for Glasgow woman's remains

Crucially, Parker and Smith agreed to give evidence for the prosecution in return for lesser sentences. 

The jury heard how Ms Spence, 27, was snatched off a street in Broomhill in the West End of Glasgow on April 14, 2011, and taken by car to Ayrshire.

They were told that Coats was a computer expert who had a glittering career, a successful wife, three children and a fortune in the bank. 

His extraordinary IT skills took him first to the Civil Aviation Authority, where he helped develop air traffic control systems, then to the world of investment banking, where he designed trading floors. 

Coats was richly rewarded and made even more money from property development, but his life soon unravelled when a catalogue of witnesses took the stand during the trial to implicate both Coats and Wade in the murder.

Smith claimed he had been duped into providing a safehouse but was too scared of Coats to let Ms Spence go free.

Parker said Ms Spence was held at his home in West Kilbride for between 11 and 13 days.

He told police that he believed Coats and Wade had murdered her.

Asked if he spoke to Ms Spence, Parker said: "She just said she wished she hadn't got herself into this mess. I told her to tell these guys what they want to know and get it finished."

Both Coats and Wade then went to remarkable lengths to cover their tracks after Ms Spence’s murder.

The loft carpet was removed, floorboards were replaced and an industrial-scale clean-up operation was carried out.

However, they still left behind the tiny amount of forensic evidence that linked them to the "chamber of horrors" where Ms Spence met a brutal end. 

The most heart-rending evidence came from Ms Spence’s parents. 

Her mum described her as a "loving, caring girl" but said she was very tense the last time she saw her, which was shortly before her abduction.

She said: "I just keep thinking she is going to come back. I only had the one lassie. She was my life."

Peter Haddley, who met Coats while on remand at Addiewell prison in West Lothian, claimed Coats told him he had dumped her body in a furnace after removing the head.

To this date neither Ms Spence’s remains nor Vauxhall Astra car have been found.

Coats is believed to have suffocated Ms Spence in the bathroom of the West Kilbride flat before putting her remains in the boot of the Astra.

At one point he and Wade drove to Tighnabruaich, Argyll, but were reportedly unable to use a boat as they hoped.

During the trial, a picture emerged of a young woman who committed fraud by defrauding people and then squandering the money on a lavish lifestyle including £150 bottles of Cristal Champagne. 

She also provided forged documents to get clients a mortgage.

One scam involved 30 members of Glasgow's Chinese community who handed over £175,000 in deposits on flats at a housing development in Maryhill. But no reservation fees were paid. Ms Spence simply pocketed the lot.

Ms Spence often used aliases, and a telecoms expert found she used 20 different mobiles in the 18 months before she vanished.

Coats had been promised a £3.2m return on a £85,000 investment, paid in Danish bearer bonds to avoid VAT. 

However, he didn't know the deal was a scam and the bonds were actually forgeries.

He and Wade then hatched a plan to abduct Ms Spence and torture her into getting his money back.

During their trial it also emerged that Ms Spence had been recruited as an informant for the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, now disbanded, shortly before her disappearance.

It was claimed murder squad detectives were kept in the dark about her secret role and therefore lost vital ground in the investigation.

The jury took around 20 hours to reach their verdicts. 

Coats was handed a record minimum sentence of 33 years in prison while his sidekick Wade was jailed for at least 30 years. Both men were warned by the judge that they could die behind bars.

Before sentencing, trial judge Lord Pentland told Coats: "You were the prime mover and shaker behind the abduction, torture and murder of Ms Spence.

"You are clearly a man of some intelligence who attained a measure of some success.

"But you are a manipulative, devious, cruel personality and resorted to violence where you perceived you had been thwarted."

Lord Pentland said Wade had been driven by greed to commit "a truly monstrous and barbaric crime".

He told him: "The evidence shows you are a violent and dangerous man with no respect for human life.

"You will not necessarily be released after 30 years, and may indeed never be released."

Neither of the killers showed any emotion as they were handed their life sentences.

Parker and Smit, were each jailed for 11 years for assaulting Ms Spence and holding her captive.

In a statement outside the court, her devastated parents said: "There is no verdict that will bring our daughter Lynda back or spare her the terrible ordeal that took her life.

"We will never begin to imagine her suffering or comprehend the cruelty of any person who would do that to another human being. We cannot begin to understand or forgive what they did to our daughter Lynda.

"No words can begin to describe the heartache and pain we are suffering." 

In July 2014 both Coats and Wade lost appeals in Edinburgh against their conviction and sentence.

Last month police launched a renewed effort to find Ms Spence’s body at a remote 21 acre spot at Auchenbreck, around 12 miles from Dunoon.

Specialist forensic officers, including geophysicists and soil scientists, as well as search dogs and drones, were used.

At the time of Ms Spence’s murder, the privately owned land was a heavily wooded area. 

The trees were felled in 2016 making it easier to search.

Detective superintendent Suzanne Chow, of the Major Investigation Team, said: "This detailed work involves Police Scotland detectives, local policing officers and specialist search teams, supported by forensic scientists and experts from across the United Kingdom.

"Lynda's family have been informed of this development and officers are supporting them during this difficult time. We will keep them updated as the work continues."