Two accused of Lynda Spence 'murder' have not guilty pleas accepted

Two of the men accused of murdering missing financial adviser Lynda Spence have had their pleas of not guilty to killing her accepted.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, David Parker, 38, and Paul Smith, 47, pleaded guilty to the assault to severe injury of Ms Spence in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, between April 14 and 28, 2011.

They also admitted attempting to defeat the end of justice by removing carpets and floorboards and cleaning up the flat.

Co-accused Philip Wade, 42, and Colin Coats, 42, are still on trial accused of murdering Ms Spence and disposing of her body. They deny the charges against them.

The pleas were tendered by Andrew Lamb QC, representing Parker, and Brian McConnachie QC, representing Smith in the eighth week of the trial and accepted by Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC, prosecuting.

Lord Pentland told the jury: "What you have heard is the accused Mr Parker and Mr Smith pleading guilty to assault to sever injury and not guilty to the crime of murder.

"These are pretty significant developments. The situation of Mr Parker and Mr Smith will change to that of convicted persons and you, the jury, will no longer be called upon to make a decision as to their guilt. It is up to me as trial judge to convict them of the charges they have admitted to."

Earlier in evidence, the jury heard taped police interviews from Parker and Smith in which they claimed that Ms Spence was brought to the West Kilbride flat and they "babysat" her while she was allegedly tortured.

Those tapes could only be used as evidence against them, not Coats and Wade and now Parker and Smith will be called a Crown witnesses in the trial. The court has been adjourned until 2pm on Thursday for both men to be interviewed by Wade and Coat's defence teams.

Miss Thomson told the court: "It is my intention to call both Mr Parker and Mr Smith as witnesses. My next witness in the trial is from Albania and has to be back in that country by Friday evening. It is Sokol Zefaj."

The court has already heard that Ms Spence was married to Mr Zefaj. Earlier witness John Glen, 46, who was giving evidence for a third day, denied that he had made up a story about Coats showing him Ms Spence's thumb in an Asda bag and claiming he had killed her.

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