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Craig Anderson reports
"Court told of stormy marriage"
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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 19:10 GMT
Arlene family 'sick' over dropped charge

Arlen Fraser Arlene Fraser vanished in April 1998

The family of a woman who vanished nearly two years ago say they are disappointed that an attempted murder charge against her husband was dropped.

Nat Fraser, 41, admitted a reduced charge of assault by compressing his wife Arlene's neck to the danger of her life.

Sentence was deferred to allow background reports to be compiled.

We would like this to have continued to attempted murder level and we want to see him go to jail for this
Carol Gillies
The High Court in Edinburgh heard the attack took place a month before the mother-of-two disappeared from the couple's home in Elgin in April 1998.

Despite national appeals and a 20,000 reward, no trace has been found of the missing woman.

'Sick with sadness'

Speaking outside the court her sister Carol Gillis said she was disappointed the attempted murder charge had not been pursued against Nat Fraser.

"I feel sick with sadness with what we have had to listen to today.

"Although I don't feel we have been let down by the justice system it is extremely distressing listening to all her injuries which were life-threatening.

Nat Fraser Nat Fraser, at a police news conference
"We would like this to have continued to attempted murder level and we want to see him go to jail for this."

Mrs Fraser's mother Isabelle Thompson, said she hoped her son-in-law would still be jailed for the attack.

"We are disappointed but it is the same charge just worded differently so it should carry the same sentence."

Marriage difficulties

Arlene's father Hector McInnes said they were determined to find out what happened to their daughter.

"The police inquiry is still full speed ahead. We want to know who did it and we want to see them convicted for it."

Advocate depute Ruth Anderson QC told the court: "The Crown's information is that the marriage was not without difficulties and over the years Mrs Fraser had consulted locally a firm of solicitors, first in 1990 and thereafter up to the end of 1997 on three other occasions."

Frasers' home The assault occurred in the Frasers' house
The assault happened after Arlene Fraser arrived home from a night out with friends.

"He (Nat Fraser) grabbed Mrs Fraser and compressed her neck. As a result of that she fell to the floor of the bathroom."

Mrs Fraser later told friends that when she came round she was in the living room and she may well have lost consciousness.

The following day she phoned a friend in "a state of some distress" and later went to her family doctor and reported the incident to the police.

Bleeding in eyelids

Doctors who examined Mrs Fraser after the attack found bruising on her left shoulder, her upper chest, her left arm and her back.

She had fairly substantial bruising on her neck because of the throttling attack and tell-tale haemorraghing on her eyelids, which commonly features in strangling cases.

Poster Many appeals have been made for Arlene Fraser
Ms Anderson said: "In relation to the compression it is not possible to estimate the time over which it took place nor is it possible to give any accurate estimate of the force which had been employed in that."

But the advocate depute said it was believed that there would have to be "significant compression" to have caused the bleeding in her eyelids.

Further charge

Arlene Fraser was last seen waving the couple's two children off to school. They are now aged 12 and seven.

Nat Fraser has also been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice over his alleged knowledge of a car bought on the eve of her disappearance.

His friend, Moray farmer Hector Dick, faces the same charge.

Both are expected to appear at Elgin Sheriff Court to answer those allegations.

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See also:
12 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Missing woman's husband in court
01 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Missing woman's husband faces charges
07 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Bootleg drink link in Arlene mystery
26 Oct 98 |  UK
Search for missing mother stepped up

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