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The Northern Scot's Arlene Fraser and Nat Fraser files: 2003 – 'Compelling evidence' summed up

By Lewis McBlane

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This story appeared in the Northern Scot, January 31, 2003.

CONSUMED by jealousy and greed, Nat Fraser committed a despicable act by murdering his wife, Advocate Depute Alan Turnbull claimed in his closing speech at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

In a dramatic address to the jury at the conclusion of the evidence in the 14-day trial, Mr Turnbull urged the jury to convict Fraser of murder.

He said the most damning pieces of evidence against the 44-year-old businessman were Arlene's rings, which mysteriously reappeared in the family home eight days after she disappeared.

The court had heard earlier in the trial how the rings were not in the house at 2 Smith Street, New Elgin, the day after Mrs Fraser disappeared on Tuesday, April 28, 1998, despite an intensive search of the house by police and family.

The rings were not evident in a video taken by the police at the time, but they suddenly appeared in the bathroom eight days later.

Fraser was accused of planting the rings there, and Mr Turnbull told the jury: ''This is the cornerstone of the entire case against him, and a piece of evidence that Mr Fraser has simply not explained.

"It demonstrates his complicity and guilt beyond any doubt. He has no explanation, because he made a mistake and has been caught by that mistake."

One by one Mr Turnbull placed Arlene's engagement, wedding and eternity rings on his own fingers.

"These are the rings that he gave to his young wife, the mother of his children. How ironic that these tokens of love, permanence and fidelity should end up being his undoing – the undoing of a husband who became consumed by jealousy and greed.

"They tell us eloquently, and as powerfully as a witness who saw what happened, that Nat Fraser killed Arlene.

"There is something inherently just that even after death," he added, "something of Arlene's can reach back and ensnare the man who promised he would live with her forever and took her life because it no longer suited his purposes."

Mr Turnbull said the discovery of the rings represented the "most compelling" piece of evidence in a case of this kind.

"For a man to kill a woman in the prime of her life would be the most despicable act. You would tend to think that there would be something about an individual that would be obvious – almost as if you could see it in the face.

"You would want to hope that because it is quite a terrifying thought that you could walk past an individual in the street who could do such a despicable thing and think nothing about it."

Mr Turnbull pleaded with the jury: "Do not let the awfulness of this case overwhelm you into thinking it could not have been done, and do not let his (Fraser's) ordinariness cloak him and protect him."

And urging them to convict Fraser of murder, he added: ''The rings will provide you with the security you need to rest happy at night that you have brought some justice to this case."

At the start of his summing up, Mr Turnbull announced that three other charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice against Fraser were being dropped in order to focus on the most important charge of murder.

He said that the circumstantial evidence in the case alone – even without the testimony of Fraser's former co-accused, Hector Dick – was enough to convict him.

And he said that the fact that Fraser had an alibi for the time his wife was believed to have gone missing in the morning did not mean he could not be guilty of murder.

"If someone arranged the killing with someone else, then he is as guilty of murder as the person who actually takes the life," said Mr Turnbull.

"We don't actually know who strangled Arlene, but Nat Fraser could rectify that at any point he chooses."

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