Arlene Fraser murder trial: Key witness is habitual liar, trial hears

A KEY prosecution witness in the Arlene Fraser murder trial has been condemned as a “compulsive liar”.

A KEY prosecution witness in the Arlene Fraser murder trial has been condemned as a “compulsive liar”.

Defence QC John Scott nicknamed Hector Dick “The Riddler”, and said he had done very well out of his story, with a murder charge dropped against him and £20,000 from a tabloid newspaper.

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In his closing speech at the High Court in Edinburgh, Mr Scott also branded as feeble and unconvincing the motive suggested for Nat Fraser arranging the murder of his estranged wife. The Crown had suggested it was to avoid a divorce settlement and to stop his wife being with anyone else.

“If that is a motive for murder, this country has thousands of men the police need to keep a close eye on,” said Mr Scott.

Fraser, 53, denies acting with others to murder his wife, 33, who vanished from her home in New Elgin, Moray, in April 1998 and has never been seen again. He pleads alibi and incrimination, blaming Mr Dick, a former friend, and another or others if she was killed.

At a previous trial in 2003, Mr Dick was in the dock with Fraser but he was freed and became a prosecution witness. Later, he sold his story to a newspaper.

Mr Scott’s address to the jury yesterday came as the trial entered its sixth week. He reminded the jury that the prosecutor, Alex Prentice QC, had claimed that, on the evidence, there was only one person in the world who had a motive to kill Mrs Fraser.

“I suggest that is a dramatic overstatement of Nat Fraser’s circumstances and thinking at the time,” said Mr Scott. “The Crown appears to be saying his motive was that she was divorcing him, this would cost him money, and he could not bear the thought of her being with someone else.

“If you examine the evidence, you have been offered a feeble justification and unconvincing motive for murder.”

In relation to Mr Dick, he argued that the prosecution relied heavily on his evidence but Mr Dick had not appeared to realise that repetition did not transform a lie into the truth.

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“Hector Dick is a compulsive liar who seeks always to put himself in the best possible position. He seems to think not getting caught in a lie is the same as telling the truth. He is an easy, habitual and accomplished liar, almost a complete stranger to the truth,” said Mr Scott.

“I suggest... in his evidence in this trial he has lied so often that even he cannot always separate out the lies from the truth.”

Mr Scott suggested that the case had been blighted by hindsight and assumption, and that there had been flaws in the police investigation which officers had been reluctant to accept.

Much had been made of Mrs Fraser’s rings being found in the house more than a week after she had vanished, and her family believed Fraser had put them there, but two police officers had testified they saw the rings on the night she went missing, said Mr Scott.

The officers’ statements should have been examined to see what implications they had, but, instead, they had been “visited” and told they were wrong.

The judge, Lord Bracadale, expects the jury to retire today to consider its verdict.