The Northern Scot's Arlene Fraser and Nat Fraser files: 2003 – Court stunned as Dick gives evidence for the prosecution
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This story appeared in the Northern Scot, January 31, 2003.
ADVOCATE Depute Alan Turnbull revealed why he had chosen to drop the murder charges against Hector Dick and Glenn Lucas.
The trial took a sensational twist at the start of its second week when the pair walked free from the dock.
Mr Dick (46), of Wester Hillside Farm, Mosstowie and Mr Lucas (51), of 14 Station Road, Surfleet, Spalding, Lincolnshire, were originally charged along with Arlene Fraser's estranged husband Nat of murdering the Elgin mum and disposing of her dismembered body.
The courtroom was stunned when the charges were dropped and Mr Dick and Mr Lucas walked free.
However, there followed an even bigger bombshell when the Crown announced that Mr Dick was to give evidence against Fraser.
At the time Mr Turnbull gave no explanation for the shock move, however, in his closing speech to the jury on Tuesday he outlined the reasons for the decision.
He said Mr Dick was implicated in the disappearance of Mrs Fraser in three ways – he bought the Ford Fiesta car believed to be involved in her abduction the night before she vanished; he admitted destroying the car and he was seen outside Arlene's home a week before she went missing.
"There was absolutely no evidence to suggest he was at 2 Smith Street on the day of her disappearance," Mr Turnbull said.
"His role was always seen as somebody who provided assistance or support. Bearing that in mind, the Crown cannot call an accused person to give evidence. If we charge them we have lost control of their evidence.
"When it became clear that Hector Dick was prepared to give evidence about Nat Fraser's involvement in killing his own wife I had to weigh up all the available information and decided what I thought was the best way forward."
Mr Turnbull said his duty at the time was to identify how best the public interest could be best served in the prosecution of the case.
"I could not have Dick as both a witness and accused, and I decided that the Crown could accept Dick's explanation for being at the house on April 21."
Mr Dick had said in evidence that he had gone to the house to pick up some rubbish and deliver vodka to Mrs Fraser, however, despite knocking on the door, claimed she failed to hear him and then he sat in the drive for about 20 minutes before leaving.
The court had also heard that Arlene had been on the phone to her sister at the time and expressed concern at Mr Dick hanging about outside the house.
Mr Turnbull said it also became clear from Mr Dick's evidence – he was involved in a seven hour interview with the police before the charges were dropped – about getting rid of the car would implicate him in attempting to defeat the ends of justice, a charge he also faced.
However, he took into account the fact that Mr Dick had already served a period of imprisonment in relation to lying to the police about the car, and decided it was better to have him as a witness than an accused.
"Dick stood by him (Fraser) for years and it was only when all the difficulties were placed before him – the jail sentence and being charged with murder, and it became clear that Fraser would be prepared to take the risk of Dick being convicted for the killing of his wife that Dick decided enough was enough," Mr Turnbull said.
And although Mr Turnbull said Mr Dick's evidence, in tandem with other evidence, pointed to Fraser's guilt, he added: "I am not here to protect Hector Dick. His lying to the police was despicable and unforgivable."
Mr Turnbull added: "I decided we couldn't substantiate a case against Mr Lucas and that is why we decided to concentrate on Mr Fraser."
Dick car claims questioned
THE claim by Hector Dick during the trial that he burned, crushed and then disposed of the Ford Fiesta at a scrapyard in Elgin was questioned by Mr Paul McBride QC.
The last defence witness to be called by Mr McBride was the operations manager of the Spey Bay Salvage yard, Mr Richard Murray (26), who claimed a B-registration beige car was driven into his yard some time in May 1998.
The man Mr Murray dealt with was balding and, he said, in his 50s, and he claimed there were two other men, one aged around 60 and the other a younger man in his late 20s or early 30s.
''Who brought that car to Spey Bay?" asked Mr McBride.
Mr Murray said: "At the time I didn't know but after seeing him in the press I believe it was Hector Dick.''
Asked when the car was brought in if had it been crushed, burned or destroyed Mr Murray replied: ''It was driven in."