The mother of a missing financial adviser has broken down in tears at the trial of four men accused of murdering her daughter.
"I just keep thinking she's going to come back," Patricia Spence told jurors at the High Court in Glasgow.
Lynda Spence was a "loving, caring girl" but was "very tense" the last time her mother saw her.
Ms Spence went to the home she shared with her husband Jim in Castlebank Gardens, Glasgow, to give her mother flowers for her birthday on April 13, 2011, she said. Ms Spence left soon after, telling her parents she would be back in half an hour, but it was the last time they saw her. She was reported missing the following month.
Solicitor general Lesley Thomson asked Mrs Spence to describe her daughter and their relationship. "She was very happy, very positive," she said. "I never had any problems with her. She was a very loving, caring girl. We were very close. She was like my friend, my best friend. She took me out every Saturday. I heard from her every day. I was very over-protective, a bit of a nutcase mother. As long as I knew and got a phone call or a text message to say she was in. I used to drive her mad because she was like, 'what age am I?'." Mrs Spence wept as she added: "But she was my life. I've only got one lassie. I just keep thinking she's going to come back."
Mrs Spence said she and Ms Spence, 27, would often go to Largs at the weekend, or out on shopping trips. Her mother also used to join them when she was still alive. But towards the end of 2010 her daughter became "distant" and often said she was too busy to meet up, Mrs Spence told the court. "I can't explain it, she kind of distanced herself. She would have an excuse, saying 'I'm doing something'. She would still phone me but I saw her less."
Mrs Spence, 56, also told the court she believed Ms Spence was married to a man named Sokal Zefaj, whom she met when she was about 17 years old and working for the Co-operative Bank. "One day I was in the car and I was looking for tapes or something and I found a wee card, a business card," she said. "It had her last name as Zefaj, and I thought she was kidding. She was like 'I married him, get over it'. She was laughing about it."
Mrs Spence broke down in the courtroom again as she was asked to review text messages she exchanged with her daughter on April 14 and April 15 2011, in which she claimed she had travelled to London. "I was just asking her who she was with and if she had arrived," Mrs Spence said. "She wouldn't tell me where she was staying. You know how you would say 'I'm in such and such a hotel'? But she wouldn't say. She said after that Uncle Ben had put her up, and mentioned something about Edgware Road." As she started to cry, Mrs Spence said: "I'm sorry. It's just reading these texts."
Speaking about the last time she saw Ms Spence, Mrs Spence said her daughter was with a friend called Amelia. "It was about 6pm on my birthday," she said. "She had brought flowers. I was cuddling and kissing her and saying where are we going (for my birthday). But she said she had to go. She was tense. She never said anything was wrong but she was just dead tense." Ms Thomson asked: "Were you worried on April 13?" Mrs Spence replied: "No. She told me she would be back later. She said 'I'll be back in half an hour'. But she didn't come back. I just thought she had something to do and was busy."
Colin Coats, 42, David Parker, 38, Philip Wade, 42, and Paul Smith, 47, all deny abducting, torturing and murdering Ms Spence. The trial before Lord Pentland continues on Tuesday.