Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 13:11 UK

Fraser loses Arlene murder appeal


The appeal judges deliver their verdict

Elgin man Nat Fraser has lost his appeal against a life jail term for killing his wife Arlene.

The 48-year-old was jailed in 2003 after being found guilty of murdering the 33-year-old.

The mother-of-two went missing in Elgin, Moray, in April 1998. Her body has never been found.

Arlene's relatives cried and hugged at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh and said they were "pleased". Fraser said his fight would go on.

As they emerged from the court, Mrs Fraser's mother Isabelle Thompson, father Hector McInnes, and sister Carol Gillies, smiled.

Nat Fraser leaves court after the appeal hearing

Mr McInnes, who also gave a thumbs-up, said: "We are pleased with the outcome. It has taken 10 years of our life. Unfortunately we have not found out about Arlene but he is where he deserves to be.

"He has given us a life sentence so he deserves a life sentence as well."

As he was led from the court building, Fraser told reporters: "The fight will go on, as will the fight to get to the truth."

Last year Fraser's defence team claimed that he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The prosecution case had included claims Arlene's engagement, wedding and eternity rings were placed in the bathroom of her house several days after she vanished.

'Compelling case'

Evidence later emerged that two police officers may have seen the rings in Arlene's house shortly after she disappeared.

However, the appeal judges said the original evidence against Fraser was overwhelming.

Nat and Arlene Fraser

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

Fraser was led away, carrying a notebook, to begin the remainder of his sentence.

Grampian Police Assistant Chief Constable Jim Stephen said: "Today's result means 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 have 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."

Hunt for truth

Scotland's Solicitor General, Frank Mulholland QC, said: "I am pleased that the Appeal Court has today upheld Nat Fraser's conviction for the murder of his wife Arlene.

"This was an appalling crime and the decision of the Appeal Court will be a small comfort to Arlene's family that justice has been done. Our thoughts remain with Arlene's family at this time."

The appeal decision came just a few days after the 10th anniversary of Arlene's disappearance.


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The wife and mother had waved her two young children, Jamie and Natalie, off to primary school on 28 April, 1998.

Her husband appealed for her to get in touch, but was later charged. He had a previous conviction for assaulting her.

Over the next decade, the case of her disappearance continued to capture the public's imagination as relatives and police sought the truth.

The trial began early in January, 2003.

It heard claims that Arlene's husband had hired a hit man to kill her, and then burned her body and ground up the remains.

He denied any involvement, but the jury found Fraser guilty of murder and he was jailed for a minimum of 25 years.

The case came to appeal in 2007.

The BBC's cameras were allowed into court on Tuesday to film the judges delivering their verdict, with the footage being broadcast on television and the BBC Scotland news website.

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