Where are Colin Coats and Philip Wade now?

The two men are responsible for the murder of Lynda Spence

Police investigating the murder of Lynda Spence stood behind a fence in a remote location in Scotland
(Image credit: Alamy)

A Channel 5 documentary examining the murder of Lynda Spence has viewers wondering where Colin Coats and Philip Wade are now.

Lynda Spence was kidnapped and murder by Colin Coats and Philip Wade in 2011, and what followed was one of the longest murder trials in Scotland's history. Then, in April 2022 the search for her body was reopened - and now Channel 5 are examining her disappearance in a brand new documentary.

Just like previous Channel 5 true crime documentaries have had viewers wondering where is Vincent Tabak, where is Ian Huntley or what happened to Natascha Kampusch, similar questions are now being asked of Colin Coats and Philip Wade, the men responsible for Lynda Spence's murder.

Where are Colin Coats and Philip Wade now?

Both Colin Coats and Philip Wade were sentenced in April 2013 for the abduction and murder of Lynda Spence. Coats was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years after a judge concluded he was the "prime mover" in the crime, while Wade was ordered to spend at least 30 years behind bars.

Both men maintained their innocence throughout the trial, and later launched appeals claiming that they were the victims of a miscarriage of justice. Their lawyers argued that the Crown had not properly disclosed the fact that Ms Spence had been recruited as a covert intelligence source by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) a month before she disappeared, and said this had prejudiced the defence.

Glasgow High Court

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In July 2014, both Coates and Wade lost appeals against their conviction and sentence after appeal judges concluded that there was "overwhelming evidence" Colin Coats and Philip Wade were guilty of the crime.

Five years later, The Scottish Sun reported that Wade had "recruited prisoners" to carry out revenge bids on trial witnesses. They claimed that he had abused a Kilmarnock jail counselling job and ordered fellow inmates due to be freed to get revenge against anyone who had testified against him.

The publication quoted a witness who said his car has been vandalised and he'd been bombarded with intimidating texts by ex-inmates of Kilmarnock jail.

Also in 2019, The Scottish Sun reported that Colin Coats had been given four months alongside his life sentence after he was found with a weapon while serving his sentence in in HMP Glenochil.

Then, in 2021, the Daily Record reported Coats had been given an extra 12 months on top of his sentence after being found in possession of a mobile phone.

In 2022, Coats claimed to know where Lynda was buried, and police allowed him release in order to show them the location, prompting a new search. However, Lynda's body has never been found. 

What happened to Lynda Spence?

Lynda Spence was abducted on 14 April 2011. After being forced into a car in Glasgow, she was imprisoned and tortured for two weeks in an attic room in Ayrshire.

Coats and Wade tried to force her to reveal details of financial deals, after she had failed to pay back money that Coats had invested with her.

Spence, who was being investigated by Strathclyde Police for fraud at the time of her disappearance, had taken an £85,000 investment from Coats, and promised him millions from a property deal near Stansted Airport in Essex.

At the trial, the jury heard how she was taped to a leather chair and burned with an iron, hit with a golf club, had her toes crushed, thumb cut off and little finger severed before being murdered and having her body disposed of.

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

During their trial, it also emerged that Spence had been recruited as an informant for the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency 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.

Following an 11-week-trial David Parker and Paul Smith were also sentenced to 11 years and three months and 11 years respectively, after admitting to holding Ms Spence at Parker's flat in Ayrshire.

How did Colin Coats and Philip Wade get caught?

Colin Coats became a prime suspect after Lynda Spence was reported missing by her parents on May 13 2011. He was placed under surveillance, but initially witnesses were too scared speak out.

A breakthrough came on August 16, after a witness came forward to police, and in October 2011 police forced their way into the flat where Lynda Spence had been held by her kidnappers. 

At the flat, police found a spot of Ms Spence’s blood on the bathroom floor and fingerprints on the door handle. Mobile phone evidence also placed Coats and Wade in the location throughout Ms Spence's abduction.

Crucially, David Parker and Paul Smith agreed to give evidence for the prosecution in return for lesser sentences, and Parker revealed that Ms Spence was held at his home in West Kilbride for between 11 and 13 days.

Video of the Week

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.