In the Media

Fruit seller convicted of wife's murder for second time

PUBLISHED May 30, 2012

Nat Fraser was ordered to spend at least 17 years behind bars for killing mother-of-two Arlene Fraser, whose body has never been found.

Mrs Fraser was 33 when she vanished without trace from her home in New Elgin, Moray, on April 28 1998.

Nat Fraser, 53, was today convicted of ''instructing, instigating and organising'' her murder after a fresh trial lasting more than five weeks at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The trial heard claims the former fruit and vegetable wholesaler admitted to paying a hitman £15,000 to kill her and said his wife's body had been burned.

Fraser was originally found guilty of the killing in 2003 but his conviction was quashed last year and a fresh trial was granted after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the initial conviction was unsafe.

Judge Lord Bracadale spoke of the "shocking and wicked nature" of Fraser's crime.

He said: "The evidence indicated that at some point before the 28th April 1998 you arranged for someone to kill your wife Arlene and dispose of her body.

"Thus you instigated in cold blood the premeditated murder of your wife and mother of your children, then aged 10 and five years.

"The killer must have known that Mrs Fraser would be at home alone on a Tuesday morning and that information must have come from you.

"The murder and disposal of the body must have been carried out with ruthless efficiency for there has not been a trace of Arlene Fraser from that day to this and her bereft family continue to live without any satisfactory knowledge of what happened to her remains."

Fraser has now spent the last 14 years denying that he murdered his wife but today's verdict means he has once again failed in his repeated bids to escape justice.

The killer was on bail for part of the appeal process but has still spent almost eight years behind bars for the murder.

During the 27-day trial, the jury heard that Mrs Fraser disappeared shortly after seeing her two children - Jamie, then 10, and five-year-old Natalie - off to school.

She had been due to see her solicitor that day to discuss her plans to divorce her husband after the marriage turned sour and the pair separated the previous month.

The jury were not told that the decision was prompted by an incident at the family home in which Fraser gripped his wife by the neck. He was later jailed for 18 months after admitting a charge of assault.

The disappearance was first noticed by her friend, Michelle Scott, who went to the house later that morning to pick Mrs Fraser up for lunch.

The home appeared to have been abandoned suddenly. The vacuum cleaner was plugged in and the washing machine had been used, although her medication for the bowel condition Crohn's Disease, glasses and contact lenses remained in the house.

By the time Jamie came home from a field trip that evening, fears were growing for Mrs Fraser's safety and her neighbours called the police.

The 10-year-old left a poignant note at the house for his mother, asking: "Where are U?".

Over the next two days, Mrs Fraser's family arrived in Elgin. The search quickly became a high-profile hunt but there was no trace of her.

Her family were soon struck by the fact that Fraser never seemed to inquire about where she was.

Days later, the victim's mother would confront Fraser and demand to know if he had "done anything" to her.