A SENIOR detective "blew his top" when Arlene Fraser’s rings were found in her home, days after she was reported missing.
Former detective superintendent Alan Smith (51) - who has since left the force - said he went through a range of emotions in May 1998.
One possibility was that previous police searches might have missed the three rings, he told the High Court in Edinburgh.
At the time company director Mr Smith was deputy to the senior investigating officer.
Mr Smith was not called as a witness in an earlier trial, nine years ago.
He was aware the engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring had been described as the cornerstone of the case against Nat Fraser (53), who denies murdering estranged wife Arlene.
Her step mum, Cathy McInnes (75), has told the trial how she chanced on the rings in the bathroom of the Fraser home in Smith Street, Elgin, after Nat Fraser had visited.
Mr Smith said the rings were passed to him by Detective Sergeant William Roberton who had spoken to Mrs McInnes.
"I was surprised. I was confused. There was a range of emotions in terms of the finding of the rings. I couldn’t understand how this came to be.
"It didn’t make sense."
Mr Smith said other items had been found after an initial police search - such as store cards in a casserole dish.
Mr Smith said he wanted to "corrall" every officer who had been in the Smith Street house and "walk them through" what they had done since Arlene disappeared.
"I needed to understand how the rings could have ended up where they ended up," he said. "I blew my top out of frustration."
One of the results of the ring discovery, the trial heard, was that police began to treat the Fraser home more like a crime scene, even though the hunt for Arlene was officially a "high risk missing person" inquiry.
The trial continues....