THE father of Arlene Fraser today said he believes that her husband will launch a new appeal after being convicted of her murder for a second time.
Nat Fraser was jailed for a minimum of 17 years at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday after being found guilty of murdering his estranged wife, whose body has never been found, in 1998.
Her father, Hector McInnes, told the Evening News that he had felt that “Nat Fraser was running our lives” for the last decade, but now the 53-year-old killer “doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned”.
The 71-year-old, who lives in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, said he did not expect Fraser to ever admit his guilt and believes his former son-in-law had convinced himself he was innocent.
Mr McInnes added he planned to take a holiday after the ordeal of watching the six-week trial, and admitted he had been worried the jury may return a not-guilty verdict.
In 2003, Fraser was found guilty of murdering his wife in Elgin, Moray, and jailed for at least 25 years, but started a long appeal process which finally saw his conviction quashed last year.
Mr McInnes said: “I’m very relieved. It went on for six weeks and it seemed to swing one way then come back the other way on the next day.
“I probably felt more relief after this trial than the one in 2003. The last time it was still fresh and I was still quite numb from the loss of my daughter. It wasn’t a feeling of elation from this result, it was more of a case of ‘thank goodness this is over’.
“It stands to reason that Nat Fraser will appeal again. It’s the only thing he can do. We’ve been to the Supreme Court and through three or four appeals and the 2003 trial. Now we’ve had these six weeks. You start to think to yourself that Nat Fraser is running our lives. Every time Nat Fraser asks, we jump. We will probably go away on holiday now it’s over.”
Mrs Fraser was last seen on April 28, 1998, aged 33, after waving her two children off to school. The trial heard claims Fraser’s motive was that his wife was leaving him, and that she had seen a lawyer about getting a pay-off. It was claimed he had hired a hitman.
Mr McInnes said: “It’s always been a no-win situation for us because we were not going to get Arlene back. There is a satisfaction that the perpetrator is in prison. We had a memorial service in Elgin for Arlene and that was adequate for us.
“I don’t think he will ever admit his guilt. I believe he probably does not believe himself that he did it. He’s convinced himself.
“Nat Fraser doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. There is no reason for us to want anything from him.”
The jury retired on Tuesday and resumed their deliberations yesterday morning. They took five hours to reach a majority verdict. Mr McInnes added: “It definitely crossed my mind that he could be found not guilty because his defence lawyer was on the ball, but fortunately the prosecutor was up to him.
“There were worrying moments during the trial. Witnesses were warned not to mention the previous trial but one of Nat Fraser’s friend, who was giving evidence, was asked about his attitude and she said it had changed after he came out of prison. After that the defence tried to have the case stopped by the judge.
“I was worried for a while that the case would collapse.”
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
April 1998: Arlene Fraser is reported missing.
February 2000: Fraser pleads guilty to assaulting his wife. He is later jailed for 18 months.
November 2000: Fraser freed after serving half his term.
February 2001: Hector Dick is jailed for a year for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
April 2001: Fraser is jailed for 12 months after fraudulently obtaining £18,000 in legal aid during his assault trial.
June 2001: Fraser and Dick are charged with conspiring to murder Mrs Fraser. Dick attempts suicide in jail.
January 2003: Fraser found guilty of murder and jailed for life. Dick and Glenn Lucas cleared after the prosecution drops all charges. Dick is called as a witness against Fraser.
May 12, 2006: Fraser is freed pending an appeal.
December 2007: Fraser is sent back to jail, pending a written outcome by three judges, as his appeal ends.
May 2008: Fraser’s appeal is rejected.
May 2011: Five Supreme Court justices rule Fraser’s conviction unsafe. Scottish prosecutors say they will seek a retrial.
May 2012: Fraser convicted for the second time of murdering Arlene.
Proceedings filmed for TV documentary
The public will have the rare opportunity to watch Nat Fraser’s trial as the proceedings were filmed for part of a TV documentary to be shown at a later date.
Production company Windfall Films West was granted permission by judge Lord Bracadale to capture the trial. Small, unobtrusive cameras and microphones were dotted around various locations in Court 3 at the High Court in Edinburgh during the six-week trial, but the judge assured the jurors they would not be filmed or broadcast.
The documentary, which is to be shown on Channel 4, will not be screened until many months later.
The filmmakers said: “The aim of this series is to educate and inform viewers about the legal process by showing the preparation and presentation of trials for serious offences in the High Court in Scotland.”
The same judge allowed a TV news camera to film the sentencing last month of David Gilroy to 18 years in jail for the murder of his former lover and colleague, Suzanne Pilley.