Murder accused reveals whisky con
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NAT Fraser wanted to cheat his estranged wife Arlene by disposing of his valuable whisky collection, his murder trial heard.
Farmer Hector Dick (56), who has been identified by Fraser as his wife's possible killer, recalled conversations with the fruit and vegetable wholesaler about the possible costs of a divorce from mum-of-two Arlene.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that in a statement to police, Mr Dick said the figure his friend put on the split was £86,000.
Questioned by advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, Mr Dick agreed that Fraser had discussed his marital problems and how he had left the family home in Smith Street, New Elgin.
Mr Pretice asked if Fraser had offered him anything. "Yes, that's right. He was trying to limit the damage at that time and he offered me his whisky collection at a knock-down price."
Mr Dick said he reckoned the collection was worth perhaps £10,000 but Fraser was willing to sell it for less than £2,000, on condition he could buy it back at a later date.
Asked about the purpose of the arrangement, Mr Dick replied: "To do his wife out of ten grand."
Mr Dick said he would not have got anything out of the deal so he declined.
The farmer of Wester Hillside Farm, Mosstowie, Elgin, claimed Fraser was thinking of other schemes.
"He was trying to kid everybody on in the world that he still had a mortgage but he was mortgage free."
Mr Dick continued: "He was trying to get something past her."
The farmer said: "I think he was trying to arrange a mortgage. There was some dodge."
Fraser had also offered to sell the house to Mr Dick, but Mr Dick turned him down.
Mr Dick told the trial he had been a farmer at Mosstowie since inheriting the property, along with his brother, in 1968.
At first it was a mixed farm with livestock and vegetables but in 1996 it was "mothballed" for financial reasons.
Fields were rented out to neighbours and Mr Dick diversified into delivering coal and skip hire.
He said he first knew Fraser because he bought potatoes from him. They became friends and Fraser was best man when Hector Dick married wife Irene in 1996.
Arlene, who had married Fraser nine years earlier, was also at the wedding. Mr Dick said he liked her a lot. "She was different but, yes, a nice person."
They socialised and shared an interest in shooting.
After the split from Arlne he said, Fraser was "quite hard-headed towards it. He was not going to be beaten."
He was equally determined about his children. "He didn't want anybody else involved in the upbringing of his children if there was to be a separation ie if Arlene found somebody else in life."
The farmer told how, after Fraser's black Ford Granada had been damaged in a fire he (Mr Dick) suggested Arlene might need a car for her and the children.
"No, the bitch can walk," Fraser replied, according to Mr Dick.
Fraser (53), denies attacking wife Arlene (33), between April 28 and May 7 1998 at the home they once shared in Smith Street, New Elgin, or elsewhere in Scotland.
It is alleged that he strangled her or murdered her "by other means to the prosecutor unknown."
The indictment against Fraser says he knew Arlene had seen a solicitor about divorcing him and getting a cash pay-off.
Fraser has lodged papers in court claiming that 14 years ago on April 28 he left the address in Burnside Road, Lhanbryde, where he was staying at about 7.30a.m. and spent the day making van deliveries to hotels, restaurants and shops - pausing to make a phone call just after 9a.m.
Fraser also claims that if mum-of-two Arlene was murdered, as prosecutors claim, the man responsible could be Hector Dick of Mosstowie, Elgin.
The court has heard that there had been an earlier trial in 2003 when Hector Dick had been one of three men accused of murdering Arlene, but had left the dock and given evidence for the prosecution.
Another man on trial then, Glenn Lucas, was now dead.
The trial continues