Death of Saughton prisoner to be investigated

Saughton Prison
Saughton Prison

AN INQUIRY has been launched into the death of a con woman who was found dying in her cell at Saughton Prison.

Linsey Cotton, 33, from Addiewell, West Lothian, drove a mother and daughter to suicide over a blackmail plot.

Cotton, who died after being taken to hospital in March 2016, was serving a jail term for duping Margaret and Nicola McDonough of Paisley, Renfrewshire.

The pair killed themselves after Cotton told them they would be killed or jailed for life for breaking a non-existent confidentiality clause relating to a made up person.

Mother-of-two Cotton was only six months into a three-year sentence for conning the tragic pair, who were so taken in, they thought suicide was their only way out.

Margaret, 52, and Nicola, 23, were found unresponsive at Greenock’s Premier Inn on the morning of Friday May 10.

Margaret died later that day. Nicola died in hospital three days later.

Cotton had created a character called Stephanie Wilson or Johnstone, and convinced the mother and daughter that they faced jail or even murder for talking about a medical trial she claimed the fictitious Stephanie was linked to.

Now it has been announced that a sheriff will investigate the circumstances of Cotton’s death at a fatal accident inquiry.

A preliminary hearing is due to be held at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on October 29.

Over the course of a year, Cotton had tricked Margaret’s son Michael out of £5000 and expensive gifts, including an engagement ring.

She also tried to get £5500 from Margaret and Nicola, of Paisley.

The fraudster met Mr McDonough online in 2012 and, using photos of her stepsister’s daughter, lured him into her fantasy world, convincing him he was in a relationship with the woman she had invented.

She convinced him and his family ‘Steph’ was in jail, then critically ill and being cared for by a fictitious company.

Jailing Cotton, who admitted fraud, Paisley Sheriff Robert Fife branded her a “wicked” liar who had “created a series of fictitious persons to dupe the McDonough family”.

A spokesman for the Crown said: “An FAI is mandatory for anyone who dies the course of their employment or in custody.”

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