Fraser appeal told of 'evidence pressure'

TWO police officers have come under pressure to change evidence, which Nat Fraser is using to try to win an appeal against his conviction for killing his wife, it was claimed yesterday.

Neil Lynch, now retired, was subjected to a "robust interrogation" by detectives to break his claim that he saw rings in the couple's home on the day that Arlene Fraser disappeared. Eventually, he agreed that he might have been mistaken. The Court of Criminal Appeal also heard that PC Julie Clark had been in tears as she revealed she had been told to say nothing.

The issue of Mrs Fraser's engagement, wedding and eternity rings was crucial at Fraser's trial in 2003, when he was found guilty of arranging his wife's murder by a hit-man in 1998.

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The Crown said the rings had vanished with her and reappeared in her home in New Elgin, Moray, several days later. The allegation was that Fraser had access to Mrs Fraser's body. The officers gave statements that they saw rings in the house on the night she was reported missing.

Peter Gray, QC, for Fraser, told the court an inquiry was set up to investigate the rings issue.

Detectives from Strathclyde Police turned up unannounced at Mr Lynch's home. The interview ended with him ordering them from his house. "They returned for no purpose other than to seek to break him down," said Mr Gray.

He recounted a meeting in April last year between PC Clark and Sharon Ralph, the procurator-fiscal in Elgin. In a report, Mrs Ralph said: "I asked if she had seen the rings and she nodded. I asked, 'Were you told not to say anything?' She nodded. I asked, 'By whom?' She shook her head as if to say, 'no'. I took it she did not feel able to tell me." The hearing continues.

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