A missing businesswoman who is alleged to have been murdered may have been an undercover police mole, a trial has been told.
Defence lawyers made the claim during the trial of four men accused of murdering Lynda Spence at the High Court in Glasgow.
Ms Spence, 27, has not been seen since leaving her parents' home in April 2011.
David Parker, 37, from West Kilbride, Paul Smith, 47, from Largs, Philip Wade, 42, from Glengarnock, all North Ayrshire, and Colin Coats, 42, from Glasgow, are on trial accused of abducting, torturing and murdering her. They deny all the charges against them.
Defence QCs Gary Allan, who is representing Wade, and Derek Ogg QC, representing Coats, suggested that Ms Spence had been recruited by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) as an "informer", to pass on information about a man named Sokal Zefaj, who they claim is part of an Albanian organised crime gang.
Ms Spence, who also went under the aliases Lynda Zefaj, Linda Riley, Lynda Palmer and Lynda De-bono, was said to have been married to Mr Zefaj before her disappearance and the lawyers pointed to this as a possible reason for her being recruited by the SCDEA.
While questioning Crown witness detective sergeant Aileen Boyle, who interviewed Coats for almost five and a half hours when he was detained on October 31 2011 in relation to Ms Spence's abduction and murder, during which he made no comment, Mr Allan asked if she had been made aware of such a claim. Ms Boyle said she had not.
She said no SCDEA officers were present at a briefing on May 13 2011, when Ms Spence's missing person inquiry became a "major investigation" after the case was deemed to be "high risk".
Mr Allan said: "We may hear that far from being an ordinary businesswoman, she (Ms Spence) was in fact up to her neck in criminal activity." Ms Boyle replied: "I would agree she was involved in criminal activity." The lawyer went on: "Were you ever made aware that Ms Spence was recruited by the SCDEA to be a grass on the inside of an organised criminal network?" Ms Boyle replied: "I did not know that."
Parker, Smith, Wade and Coats are alleged to have forced Ms Spence into a car on April 14, 2011 and held her hostage in a West Kilbride flat for up to a fortnight, where they are said to have tortured her in an apparent bid to extract financial information from her. All four accused deny the charges.