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 Timeline: Arlene Fraser

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PostSubject: Timeline: Arlene Fraser   Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:01 pm

29 January 2003
The jury in the trial of businessman Nat Fraser has found him guilty of murdering his wife who went missing almost five years ago.
Husband guilty of Arlene murder

28 January 2003
Defence and prosecution lawyers in the trial of Nat Fraser, who is accused of murdering his wife Arlene, give their closing speeches to the jury
Closing speeches in murder trial

28 January 2003
Nat Fraser has three charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice against him dropped.
Arlene husband charges changed

27 January 2003
The husband of missing woman Arlene Fraser denies killing his wife out of greed as he finishes giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh. There is also a clash over evidence provided by key prosecution witness Hector Dick and detectives involved in the search for Mrs Fraser.
Arlene 'killed out of greed'

24 January 2003
Nat Fraser tells the court that he loved Arlene and did not murder her. He says the couple's relationship was "stormy at times" but he added that he still wanted her back when they split up in 1998.
Accused husband 'loved Arlene'

22 January 2003
Nat Fraser allegedly warned Arlene that she would "not live with anyone" if she left him. Marion Taylor tells the High Court in Edinburgh Arlene Fraser talked about the threat just days before going missing.
Claim husband warned Arlene

21 January 2003
Hector Dick denies that he killed Arlene. Mr Dick tells the High Court in Edinburgh that Nat Fraser had hired a hitman to kill his wife.
Arlene witness: 'I'm no killer'

20 January 2003
The husband of missing Elgin woman Arlene Fraser hired a killer to murder his wife and then disposed of her remains himself, witness Hector Dick tells the murder trial.
Arlene husband 'hired killer'

Hector Dick
Hector Dick: Turned prosecution witness
20 January 2003
Hector Dick admits burning and crushing a car because of fears that it might be linked to the disappearance of Mrs Fraser.
Arlene witness 'crushed' car

14 January 2003
Two of the three men accused of plotting to murder Arlene Fraser have the charges against them dropped. In a dramatic development, the High Court in Edinburgh hears that the Crown would not be proceeding with charges against Hector Dick and Glenn Lucas.
Arlene murder charges dropped

10 January 2003
Three rings belonging to Arlene Fraser turned up in her bathroom more than a week after she disappeared. Mrs Fraser's stepmother, Catherine McInnes, said she found the wedding, engagement and eternity rings on a rail above the sink.
Rings 'found after disappearance'

9 January 2003
One of three men accused of murdering Arlene Fraser was "hanging about" outside her home a week before she disappeared, the court is told.
Arlene 'saw accused outside her home'

8 January 2003
The mother of Arlene Fraser confronted her son-in-law demanding to know what had happened, a High Court jury is told.
Arlene's mother quizzed son-in-law

7 January 2003
Arlene Fraser disappeared on the day she was due to see a solicitor about a divorce, the High Court hears.
Arlene murder trial opens

Nat Fraser
Nat Fraser on his wedding day
26 April 2002
Three men are indicted for the murder of missing mother Arlene Fraser. The Crown Office said the men involved were Arlene's estranged husband Nat Fraser, his friend Hector Dick and English businessman Glenn Lucas. They are all charged with conspiring to murder Mrs Fraser, murdering her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
Husband charged with Arlene murder

20 June 2001
Hector Dick, one of the men charged with conspiring to murder Arlene Fraser, attempts to kill himself in custody.
Arlene accused attempts suicide

4 June 2001
A 49-year-old man is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the Arlene Faser inquiry. Glenn Lucas, from Spalding in Lincoln, makes a brief appearance at Elgin Sheriff Court.
Man denies Arlene inquiry charge

2 April 2001
The husband of Arlene Fraser is jailed for 12 months after admitting legal aid fraud. Sheriff James Penman tells Nat Fraser it was a very serious crime and there is no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.
Arlene husband jailed again

1 February 2001
A man who admitted trying to pervert the course of justice after a woman's disappearance is jailed for a year. Hector Dick had been accused of concealing the whereabouts of a car sought by detectives investigating the case of Arlene Fraser. Dick pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice after being caught on video discussing the missing vehicle.
Arlene inquiry man jailed

9 January 2001
A farmer accused of trying to pervert the course of justice in connection with the disappearance of Elgin woman Arlene Fraser changes his plea to guilty. On the fourth day of a trial at Dingwall Sheriff Court, Hector Dick's defence counsel, David Moggach, says his client is pleading guilty to a slightly lesser charge.
Arlene inquiry man pleads guilty

3 January 2001
A Moray mechanic tells a court that he sold a car to a local farmer the night before Arlene Fraser disappeared. Kevin Ritchie claims he did the deal with Hector Dick of Mosstowie, near Elgin.
Arlene case car 'sold to farmer'

2 October 2000
A jury trial linked to the mystery disappearance of Arlene Fraser is postponed. Moray farmer Hector Dick had been due to face charges that he knew the whereabouts of a car which police believed was central to the investigation.
Arlene inquiry trial postponed

22 June 2000
A north-east farmer is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice in the investigation into the disappearance of Elgin mother Arlene Fraser. Hector Dick from Mosstowie, near Elgin, was to appear at Elgin Sheriff Court on 21 August.
Man charged in Arlene inquiry

1 March 2000
Nat Fraser is jailed for 18 months for assaulting Arlene, who at this stage had been missing for almost two years. Mr Fraser is sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh after previously admitting a reduced charge of compressing his wife Arlene's neck to the danger of her life.
Arlene husband jailed

Arlene Fraser poster
A huge search was launched days after Arlene Fraser's disappearance
9 February 2000
The family of Arlene Fraser said they are disappointed that an attempted murder charge against her husband has been dropped. Nat Fraser, 41, admits a reduced charge of assault by compressing his wife Arlene's neck to the danger of her life.
Arlene family 'sick' over dropped charge

12 November 1999
Nat Fraser appears at the High Court in Aberdeen charged with assaulting and attempting to murder her. The crimes are said to have taken place in the months before Mrs Fraser vanished from her home.
Missing woman's husband in court

28 April 1999
Arlene Fraser's family mark the anniversary of her disappearance with a new appeal for information. Arlene telephoned her children's school at 0941 BST on 28 April, 1998. She has not been heard of since.
New appeal in Arlene mystery

27 October 1998
The senior detective investigating the disappearance of Arlene Fraser said he believes she is dead and the victim of "something criminal". Detective Chief Inspector Peter Simpson said officers had found no evidence that Mrs Fraser, 33, was still alive.
Police fear missing mother is dead

28 April 1998
Arlene Fraser is last seen dropping her children off to school. Grampian Police admits it is baffled by the disappearance.
Search for missing mother stepped up
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PostSubject: Court throws out Fraser's appeal over murder of wife Arlene   Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:03 pm

Published Date: 07 May 2008
By SHÂN ROSS
NAT Fraser, the businessman convicted of murdering his estranged wife, yesterday failed in an attempt to have his conviction quashed.
The decision came a few days after the tenth anniversary of his wife's disappearance. Fraser, 48, of Elgin, Moray, was jailed in 2003 after a jury found him guilty of murdering Arlene, 33, despite no body being found.

As they emerged from the court in Edinburgh, Mrs Fraser's mother, Isabelle Thompson, her father, Hector McInnes, and sister, Carol Gillies, were smiling.

With his voice shaking and full of emotion, Mr McInnes, who gave a thumbs-up, said: "We are pleased with the outcome. It has taken ten 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."

But as he was led away from the back of the court building, Fraser tugged on his handcuffs to delay a Reliance officer putting him into a security van and said to waiting reporters: "The fight will go on, as will the fight to get to the truth."

The mother of two went missing from her home in Elgin in April 1998 after waving her two young children, Jamie and Natalie, off to school.

Last year Fraser's lawyers claimed he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice and argued that evidence from two police officers was not disclosed to the defence or to the trial.

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

Evidence later emerged that the police officers may have seen the rings in her house shortly after she disappeared.

But yesterday, at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, three senior judges ruled that Fraser's appeal against conviction should be refused.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, concluded that the proposed evidence of PCs Neil Lynch and Julie Clark was not new 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.

At one point during the proceedings, Fraser tried to interrupt Lord Gill as he delivered his opinion, saying: "Excuse me, excuse me."

In a highly unusual departure from the usual proceedings in a Scottish court, television cameras were also allowed in.

At a press conference in a nearby hotel, Mrs Fraser's family spoke of their "sheer relief". They also revealed that they would be prepared to do a "trade-off" with Fraser, giving him a reduction of his life sentence if he would disclose where Mrs Fraser's body was buried.

Mrs Gillies said: "I'm appealing to Nat's human side. We'd like to give Arlene a proper burial and a trade-off might be the only way we can get that information."

Mrs Gillies and her father said they were still prepared to put up £20,000 each as a reward for information, despite the fact that no-one had come forward with information in the past.

Mrs Fraser's sister, describing the strain of yesterday's proceedings and seeing Fraser in court, continued: "This case has been full of surprises. I was terrified going into court. I have no feelings towards him. Maybe pity; he's completely ruined his life, he's got nothing ahead of him.

Mrs Gillies added that she "did not feel hatred" towards Fraser.

"I just see him as a source of information. He needs to go back to his cell and think about his future. People talk about 'closure'. We will only get closure when Arlene is found. We need to be true to ourselves and accept that we might never know."

The case could now be considered by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission if there were sufficient grounds that a miscarriage of justice had occurred.

Case centred on three rings, but judges weren't convinced

NAT Fraser's appeal against his life sentence centred round three rings worn by his wife – her engagement, wedding and eternity rings, pictured.

In the immediate aftermath of Arlene's disappearance on 28 April, 1998, no trace of them was found by police or family members.

Arlene Fraser: Body has never been found
Arlene Fraser: Body has never been found
But they were eventually found on a wooden dowel beneath a soap dish in the bathroom, after a visit Fraser made to the house on 7 May. It was claimed Fraser had placed them there, suggesting he had access to her body after she vanished.

The trial judge directed the jury at the time that, if they did not accept that Fraser placed the rings in the bathroom on 7 May, they could not convict.

However, in March 2006 it emerged that two police officers, precognosed by the Crown in preparation for the trial, had mentioned seeing rings there prior to the police search.

Two months later, Fraser walked free from prison on bail, after judges heard the grounds of appeal in his case were "compelling".

This evidence had not been known to the advocate-depute and not disclosed to the defence. Fraser's legal team argued for a miscarriage of justice.

The appeal judges yesterday said the ruling was a "misdirection", but one which was "limited in its scope".

Lord Gill told the court: "We can conclude with certainty the jury found that the appellant put the rings in the house on May 7.

"The question is whether, in light of the proposed new evidence, the verdict was a miscarriage of justice. In my view, it was not."

Lord Gill added evidence from the PCs had "no material significance in comparison with the evidence of the family members."

FIVE YEARS OF PAIN

6 MAY 2008 Nat Fraser's appeal against a life sentence for killing his wife is rejected.

28 APRIL 2008 Tenth anniversary of Arlene Fraser's disappearance from her home. Her family gather in Elgin to mark the date privately.

6 DECEMBER 2007 Fraser is sent back to prison, pending a written outcome by three judges, as his appeal comes to an end.

15 NOVEMBER 2007 Police lied to the prosecutor in the Fraser murder trial in order to get a conviction, it is claimed.

14 NOVEMBER 2007 The prosecutor who secured Fraser's conviction for murdering his wife was unaware of important evidence until two years later, appeal judges hear.

6 JUNE 2007 Fraser is to challenge his conviction for murdering his wife when a full appeal is heard later this year.

14 SEPTEMBER 2006 Glenn Lucas, one of the men ( the other was Hector Dick) cleared of murdering Arlene, is found dead at his home in Lincolnshire.

12 MAY 2006 Fraser is freed from prison pending an appeal.

6 MAY 2005 Fraser is allowed to appeal against his conviction.

19 DECEMBER 2003 Fraser lodges an appeal against his conviction for murdering his wife.

The full article contains 1193 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
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PostSubject: Fraser loses bid to overturn conviction   Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:05 pm

NAT Fraser today failed in a bid to have his 2003 conviction for murdering his estranged wife quashed at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh.
Fraser's lawyers claimed 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 three senior judges ruled that his appeal against conviction should be refused.

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."

Fraser was jailed for life in January 2003 after a jury convicted him of killing his estranged wife Arlene ten years ago.

Mrs Fraser was 33 when she disappeared from her home in New Elgin, Moray, after waving her two children off to school on 28 April 1998. Her body has never been found.

The disappearance led to one of the largest and most complex investigations ever mounted by Grampian Police, and resulted in a high-profile trial.

In 2003 the trial judge at the High Court in Edinburgh ruled that Fraser should spend a minimum of 25 years in jail before being considered for release. But Fraser walked free in May 2006, having been granted bail ahead of his full appeal. Judges took the step after hearing that the grounds of appeal were "compelling" in Fraser's case.

The trial heard Arlene's rings went missing on the day she disappeared, then turned up in the bathroom of her home nine days later. It was claimed her husband had placed them there, suggesting he had access to her body.

Fraser's defence team appealed against his conviction on the grounds that the evidence of two police officers – Julie Clark and Neil Lynch – who claimed to have seen rings in the house much nearer the time she went missing, was not disclosed to the defence or to the trial. But the appeal judges said the original evidence against Fraser was "overwhelming".

Fraser returned to prison in December 2007 after the convicted killer's bail was withdrawn at the end of submissions in his appeal.

Lawyers for Fraser claimed his trial had been a "farce".

Fraser, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler, had been facing a costly divorce settlement and was suspected by the police, but he had an unbreakable alibi. It was almost five years before he and two other men, Hector Dick and Glenn Lucas, now deceased, were put on trial. A few days into the case, the Crown dropped the charges against Lucas and Dick.

Dick then said Fraser had confided in him about hiring a hit-man to strangle Arlene, and claimed Fraser had admitted burning the body and crushing and scattering the remains.

In today's decision, Lord Gill said 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.

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

Members of Mrs Fraser's family, including her father and sister 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.

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