A MURDERER’S wife who kept his drug business going while he was behind bars has been spared jail.

Karen McLellan, who is married to Gavin Toye, was caught growing cannabis at their home in Bishopton in September last year.

Six months earlier, Toye was jailed after he was caught growing cannabis and dealing it from their home in the village’s Kingston Road.

Toye, 56, had embarked on the doomed drug racket after being released from prison following his murder conviction.

He was jailed for life in 1995 for hacking 27-year-old John McRae to death with a mountaineering axe and a knife as he left a pub in Clydebank.

Toye was released in 2008, after serving just 13 years, and later married 57-year-old McLellan.

She worked as a nightshift supervisor at a branch of discount store B&M and it was her criminal activities which resulted in her husband being brought back to the attention of police.

Detectives were investigating a £200 theft from her work and searched her home in November 2016, stumbling across Toye’s £20,000 cannabis farm.

During the search, officers smelled cannabis and Toye, who was in the front bedroom, said, ‘there’s a cultivation in the loft’.

Officers found 69 plants, fans, insulation, plant food and heaters.

Last year, at Paisley Sheriff Court, Toye pleaded guilty to two charges of breaking the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and was caged for 35 months.

But 57-year-old McLellan kept the business going before she was caught growing the drug on September 5 last year.

She admitted her guilt, pleading guilty to a charge of breaking the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by growing the class B drug at her home on the day in question.

Sentence on McLellan was adjourned for reports to be prepared and she returned to the dock this week to learn her fate.

The court heard that officers searched the property, believing there to be drugs inside, and found 20 plants growing in the loft and a further eight growing in a back bedroom.

No valuation was given for the drugs but the court was told they were being grown in McLellan’s home after she was bullied into her property being used as a cannabis farm by an unnamed person.

Defence solicitor Michael McKeown said: “She does not have the necessary skills [to grow this drug herself]. She accepts it is serious and that she’s been stupid and allowed persons to take advantage of her and placed herself in a very precarious position.

“This is very much an aberration. She has learned a valuable lesson and is very embarrassed to be in court.”

Sheriff David Pender said McLellan had been “very, very silly” to become involved in the venture in the way she had but spared her prison.

Instead, he placed her on a 12-month Community Payback Order, telling her to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, reduced from 300 hours as she admitted her guilt, and told her to return for a progress review in June.