Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:30 UK

A wave - then a 10-year mystery

By Ken Banks
North East and Northern Isles reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Arlene and Nat Fraser's wedding
Arlene and Nat Fraser got married in 1987

It was a normal family scene which is repeated in households across the world every day of the week.

Wife and mother Arlene Fraser waved her two young children Jamie and Natalie off to primary school in Elgin, Moray, on 28 April, 1998.

But it proved to be the last sighting of the 33-year-old.

Over the next 10 years, the case of her disappearance continued to capture the public's imagination as relatives and police sought the truth.

Her family and friends were convinced she would not just abandon her children.

The children are missing you terribly. If you do not want to come home, just please let us know you are all right
Nat Fraser
Arlene's husband speaking in 1998

Arlene had met husband Nat in 1985. They got engaged in September 1986 and married on 9 May, 1987.

The resulting missing person inquiry saw Arlene's husband take part in an appeal at a media conference.

"Arlene if you are watching this, please get in touch just to let us know you are safe and well," he said.

"The children are missing you terribly. If you do not want to come home, just please let us know you are all right."

A reward of £10,000 for information which could lead to her safe return was also offered.

However, suspicions that her husband may have known more about the mystery would not go away, as he had previously assaulted his wife. But he always protested his innocence about her vanishing.

Grampian Police were worried it was more than just a routine missing person inquiry as it was "totally out of character" for her to disappear.

Arlene's anxious relatives were convinced she had been abducted and murdered.

'Got in touch'

And one of Arlene's best friends had no doubt about what had happened to her.

Shortly after the disappearance, Michelle Scott said: "She is dead, somebody took her life, she certainly didn't take her own life.

"If she was still out there she would have got in touch with her mum and her children."

Arlene Fraser
Arlene Fraser vanished from her Elgin home in 1998

Eventually, the major inquiry saw detectives charge Mr Fraser and a friend, Hector Dick, with conspiracy to murder - then the pair and another of their associates, Glenn Lucas, were subsequently charged with murder.

Searches of Mr Dick's farm and a Moray scrap yard proved fruitless and hundreds of local lock-ups and garages were examined, but nothing was uncovered.

Flights were also made over areas of Moray with special cameras looking for possible graves.

The trial began early in January, 2003.

However, in a dramatic twist, Mr Dick and Mr Lucas were freed - leaving Fraser alone in the dock.

Mr Dick then became a witness for the prosecution. He told the trial that Arlene's husband had hired a hit man to kill her, and then burned her body and ground up the remains.

Seeking answer

Fraser denied being involved in his wife's disappearance when he took the witness stand, but did admit that the couple had a stormy relationship.

However, the jury found Fraser guilty of murder and he was jailed for a minimum of 25 years.

The sensational case simply refused to go away, and eventually came to appeal in 2007.

The defence was questioning evidence about Arlene's rings and when they were in her house after her disappearance. Were they always there, or were they put there later by the culprit or police?

However, no matter what the outcome, relatives knew they would still be left with one unanswered question.

What exactly happened to Arlene?

It remains to be seen if they will ever get the answer they hope for.



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SEE ALSO
Fraser loses Arlene murder appeal
06 May 08 |  North East/N Isles
Timeline: Arlene Fraser case
25 May 11 |  North East/N Isles

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