The Northern Scot's Arlene Fraser and Nat Fraser files: 2003 – 'Justice has finally been done'
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This story appeared in the Northern Scot, January 31, 2003.
NAT Fraser takes with him to his cell the secrets of that terrible day in April, 1998, when his wife disappeared.
But he could "salvage some dignity, some humanity" by revealing why and how Arlene died, and what happened to her remains, said Detective Superintendent Jim Stephen, who led the Grampian Police investigation.
In a statement following the Judge's verdict on Wednesday, Det Supt Stephen said: ""Nat Fraser is a cold, calculating man who has not once expressed a word of remorse or sadness for what he has done.
"To this day he has consistently denied any part in his wife's disappearance and murder. He could have spared Arlene's family enormous pain had he admitted his part in his wife's death many years ago.
"Brash and bullish though he is, he seriously underestimated our determination to investigate his wife's murder and did what he could to tarnish her character to throw us off the trail.
"He was apparently amazed we were still looking for Arlene two weeks after her disappearance, and he hoped we would give up.
"Two weeks became almost five years, during which time we refused to give up or to be distracted. Day after day we chipped away at the seemingly impenetrable wall of silence Fraser had put in our way, searching for the evidence which has ultimately proved his guilt and sent him to prison for a very long time.
"It is not too late for him to begin to salvage some decency, some humanity. He takes with him to his cell the secrets of that terrible day in April, 1998. He knows why Arlene died, he knows how, he knows who murdered her and he knows what happened to her remains.
"We will be visiting him in prison to try to establish the truth of what happened to Arlene. Only then will we have finished our work.
"Our abiding thoughts are for Arlene, a young woman who found herself trapped in a loveless and brutal marriage, whose life was so cruelly taken away.
"Today's verdict will not bring her back to her children, to her family, to her friends. But today, after nearly five years, justice has finally been done."
Det Sup Stephen said the verdict brought to an end the most testing, complex, protracted and expensive criminal investigation ever mounted by Grampian Police.
'The verdict justifies our investigation and the enormous effort made by Grampian Police over nearly five years. It vindicates the Crown's decision to prosecute. It rewards the stoicism and quiet determination of Arlene's family.
"In the early hours of Mother's Day, 1998, Nat Fraser strangled his wife Arlene and all but killed her - a fact the jury were, quite properly, not told while they assessed the evidence in this case.
"What they were told was that a little over five weeks later Arlene was murdered. Without any knowledge of the Mother's Day attack, the jury has decided, on the basis of the evidence they did hear, that Nat Fraser was responsible for his wife's death.
"In our opinion and that of the Crown, the jury has reached the right conclusion.
"On April 28th, 1998, in the absence of forensic or direct evidence, we embarked on a major investigation which established precedent in Scotland and which culminated in today's verdict.
'The investigation into Arlene's murder has led to one of the few times anyone has ever been indicted for murder in Scotland without the victim's body first being found.
"It has been unusual for other reasons too, not least the enormous media coverage and public interest the case has attracted. The interest shown by the media in Arlene's disappearance and murder has been of great help to Grampian Police and I thank the many news organisations for the extensive publicity they have given the case throughout the last five years.
"I wish also to pay tribute to the understanding, patience and tremendous support we have received from the public, not just the residents of Elgin but people throughout Scotland.
"I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the many experts and other agencies throughout the UK who have provided invaluable advice to Grampian Police during this lengthy inquiry.
"In particular, the Crown Office legal team has worked tirelessly preparing and presenting the complex elements of this investigation. Without its efforts, support and professionalism, this case would never have reached court.
"The officers and support staff of Grampian Police who have worked on this investigation should also be commended.
"Their dedication and enthusiasm has not wavered. Rather, it has been in the highest traditions of policing and I am proud to have worked with them.
"The case has been the most expensive criminal inquiry Grampian Police has ever undertaken - costing somewhere in the region of £2 million.
"Anyone who is surprised at such a sum should ask themselves: if Arlene had been your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend, would you have wanted us to close the case unsolved because the bill was rising?
"We owed it to Arlene's children and family to conduct the most thorough investigation we possibly could in order to find out what happened to her that day in 1998. It has taken hard work, but today that effort is rewarded.
"My immediate thoughts now are with Arlene's children, Jamie and Natalie. They have lost not only a mother, but have now lost their father for a number of years.
"For them today's verdict is a continuation of a nightmare and they will need all the love and support of friends and relatives to see them through.
"Our thoughts are also very much with Arlene's parents, her sister and brother-in-law.
"For almost five years, they have had to endure many emotions, fears and dashed hopes. Their support for Grampian Police has been unstinting; their patience ar,d strength has been quite remarkable."
He added: "I hope in some way today's verdict will help close this traumatic chapter of their lives."