A GOUROCK author has penned a book based on the Greenock Premier Inn hotel tragedy which saw a mother and daughter driven to suicide because of a bizarre blackmail plot.

Linsey Cotton, 33, was jailed in 2015 following the deaths of Margaret McDonough, 53, and her daughter Nicola, 23, at the budget hotel in James Watt Way.

She had told Margaret and Nicola they faced prison for breaking confidentiality relating to a fictitious court case after tricking Mrs McDonough’s son, Michael, 33, out of £5,000.

In March 2016, Cotton took unwell in her cell at Saughton Prison and died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Now, Dr Hilary A. Nettleton, a criminologist from Inverclyde who has previously worked for the Scottish Office, Home Office, Institute of Psychiatry, South Wales Police and Keele University, has released a book about the case entitled 'The Cruellest Con: The True Story of A Monstrous Deception Leading to The Deaths of Two Innocent Women'.

Dr Nettleton, who now lives near near Cardiff, said: "Obviously being a Gourock girl I had heard about the case, as I come up to visit my mum who still lives in Gourock and my brother who lives in Greenock.

"I was very interested in it as it was a very sad and devastating story.

"I wanted to outline what happened in more detail and to really put my own analysis, given my criminology background."

In the book, Dr Nettleton, who has studied risk behaviours in prisoners and what leads to their offending, takes an in depth look at the case and gives her expert opinion on the psychology behind what happened.

She said: "We know that the victims were from an intelligent family and the perpetrator was not a master criminal, so what was it about the situation that caused them to do what they did?

"The book shows that we could all have fallen victim."

Dr Nettleton also delves into details she believes were not widely known at the time.

She added: "There was the fact that the lady who perpetrated the crime has done similar things before.

"An ex-partner, for example, spoke in one of the newspapers about the experience he had."

In the book, Dr Nettleton also examines other cases.

She added: "I talk about some other cases in the book, where vast amounts of money were involved.

"But this case in Greenock is unusual because they felt so trapped at the thought of prison and spending 20 years of their lives there, which was part of the con.

"In terms of the psychology of offending, I look at what on earth possessed Linsey Cotton, a mother of two, to do this."

Dr Nettleton, who now teaches the Open University's masters degree in criminology, added: "In terms of the story of what happened to Nicola and Margaret, I hope it's a respectful account of what happened in their situation.

"I also hope it's a valuable lesson for other people to be vigilant and not to take at face value people who present themselves to be something that they are not.

"With regards to Linsey Cotton, in the book I tried not to make it out that she was some arch criminal, as I don't think she was.

"She was a good manipulator and a good liar.

"I don't think she purposely went out to make Nicola and Margaret kill themselves.

"But what she did, through her lies and manipulation, created a devastating set of circumstances and she had to take some of the responsibility for that.

"I have tried to be fair and balanced in the book."

Dr Nettleton, who is originally from Iona Walk in Gourock but now lives in Bridgend in Wales, says her book is available online including Amazon and Waterstones.

Later this year, she is also planning to write a book on the Margaret Fleming Inverkip murder case.