A detective who led an inquiry into the disappearance of a businesswoman alleged to have been murdered has told a court that the missing woman's role as a police informer "didn't greatly affect" his investigation.
Detective Superintendent Alan Buchanan, 47, became senior investigating officer for Lynda Spence's disappearance on June 2 2011, when a phone used by her was found in a wheelie bin next to the Lunchbox cafe in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire.
The 27-year-old was allegedly abducted, tortured and murdered by Colin Coats and Philip Wade, both 42, charges which they deny.
During their trial at the High Court in Glasgow, it has emerged that Ms Spence was recruited by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) on March 5 2011 as a "covert human intelligence source" into criminal conduct.
Jurors were told Ms Spence was authorised to report on her former partner, Sokal Zefaj, and three other people who have not been named.
Det Supt Buchanan said he was made aware that Ms Spence was "a source under recruitment" on July 15 2011 but police did not have any information that linked it to her disappearance.
"Lynda Spence being a source for recruitment, in my opinion, was not an evidential aspect of the case. It didn't greatly affect the strategy (of the investigation). I became aware on July 15 2011 when the SCDEA supplied us with information about individuals she had been providing information on," he told the court. "We never had any information which had any bearing on her disappearance or murder."
The strategy of the investigation involved speaking to Ms Spence's friends and family, reviewing CCTV footage and looking into her background, business dealings and personal life, he told the court.
Under cross-examination, Gary Allan QC, defending Wade, said: "I really struggle with the fact it is not relevant where you are dealing with a situation where someone has dropped off the face of the earth."
The detective said: "That information was shared with the Crown."