A MOTHER and daughter killed themselves in a horrific suicide pact after a warped fraudster trapped them in a staggeringly bizarre web of threats and lies.
And yesterday, the full extent of Linsey Cotton’s heartless deception was laid bare in court.
Cotton, a single mother of two from West Lothian, invented a phantom girlfriend, a bogus stem cell trial, a fictitious murdering doctor and a non-existent government cover-up.
And she conjured up a whole cast of characters for her charade.
Cotton, 33, used 15 phones, two laptops and two tablet computers to convince her victims she was more than a dozen different people. At various points, she played a nurse, a barrister and government officials.
Her scam netted her nearly £5000 and a hoard of expensive gifts. But she also terrorised Margaret McDonough and daughter Nicola – until they checked into a Premier Inn, took pills and slashed themselves.
Margaret, 52, died within hours of being found at the Greenock hotel
on May 10, 2013. Nicola, 23, passed away three days later.
In the run-up to the tragedy, Cotton had convinced the women they faced 20 years in prison and turned their son and brother against them. Her lawyer said she was sorry.
Cotton began her scheme a year before the double suicide by ensnaring Margaret’s son Michael, a 33-year-old RAF corporal who served at Lossiemouth in Moray.