Convicted wife killer loses appeal

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A man convicted of murdering his estranged wife ten years ago today failed in a bid to have his conviction quashed.

Nat Fraser, a 49-year-old businessman from Elgin, was jailed for life in 2003 after a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife Arlene in April 1998, despite no body ever being found.

Fraser's lawyers said he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and argued that vital evidence casting doubt on his guilt was withheld from his defence team.

But today, three senior judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled that his appeal against conviction should be refused.

Fraser's defence team appealed against his conviction on the grounds that the evidence of two police officers was not disclosed to the defence or to the trial.

But, today, the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill concluded that the proposed evidence of Pcs Neil Lynch and Julie Clark was not new evidence and that, even if it was, the verdict could not be regarded as a miscarriage of justice.

He said: "The circumstantial evidence alone constituted a compelling case against the appellant.

"There was evidence that he had motives for the crime.

"There was evidence of his previous malice and ill will towards the deceased."

Lord Gill added that there was evidence of "preparatory acts" by Fraser in setting up an alibi.

The judge continued: "There was incriminating evidence in the events and circumstances and in the demeanour and the statements of the appellant immediately after the disappearance.

"In my opinion, the circumstantial evidence alone was not only sufficient in law to entitle the jury to convict, but was powerful in its effect."

Fraser tried to interject as the judges delivered their opinion, saying: "Excuse me, excuse me," while Lord Gill was speaking.

The killer showed little sign of emotion as he was led away to continue his sentence.

The court remained silent as the decision was announced.

Members of Mrs Fraser's family, including her father, Hector McInnes, and sister, Carol Gillies, also showed little sign of outward emotion as the opinion was delivered.

Speaking outside court, Grampian Police Assistant Chief Constable Jim Stephen, who was the senior investigating officer in the case, said: "Today's result is that Nat Fraser will continue to pay for his crime.

"This must be a source of comfort to Arlene's family who have had to endure considerable pain and anxiety throughout the appeal period.

"Their support for Grampian Police has been unstinting and their patience and strength has been quite remarkable.

"We hope that in some way today's verdict will help them close one traumatic chapter of their lives.

"This outcome recognises the hard work and commitment of the Arlene Fraser inquiry team which demonstrated throughout a commendable level of determination and professionalism in the face of a difficult and complex investigation."