Monday, 20 February 2017

Scotland's Missing Crime Files: The disappearance of devoted mum Arlene Fraser

This is another case that’s always haunted me and inspired to write crime like Vile City

Tragic Arlene - was she killed by her husband Nat Fraser?

Pretty mum-of-two Arlene Fraser was just 33-years-old when she was last seen in the Scottish town of Elgin in 1998. Since that day she was never seen again.

Picture the scene in Arlene's house. It looked as if it'd been abandoned suddenly. 

The vacuum cleaner was still plugged in and the washing machine had been recently used.

Could Arlene have left and be living somewhere else?

This was a theory that was touted by Nat Fraser and his defence. 

If Arlene had left she hadn't been prepared.  

Her medication for Crohn's disease, her glasses and contact lenses were still in the house.

Would she really leave home without them? 

Then there were her children. Would the devoted mum have left without them? Not by choice.

Just weeks before her disappearance, her violent husband Nat Fraser had throttled her for coming home late. He was sentenced to eighteen months for that assault but that only happened two years after the assault on his wife which was first treated as attempted murder. 

Had he been convicted sooner she might not have been killed. 

Tragically, Arlene had been set to divorce her violent husband and start a new life. 

She was never given that chance.

What happened to Arlene?

Initially her disappearance was treated as a missing persons case. The detective in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Simpson said: "Something criminal has taken place here. Arlene has been the victim of a crime. I am of the opinion that she's dead. There's no indication that she's living somewhere else." 

The police believe Nat Fraser paid someone to wipe his wife off the face of the earth. During the search for her, he was accused of not being interested in her whereabouts as if he already knew where she was.

In 2003, he was convicted of her murder and sentenced to 25 years in jail. 

In 2011, he successfully challenged his conviction and it was quashed. But in 2012 in a new trial he was again convicted of Arlene's murder. In 2013, he lost yet another appeal. 


So, why was there so much doubt over the husband's conviction?

There was no body and Nat Fraser did not commit the murder himself. 

The prosecution argued that Nat Fraser accused his wife of having a lover and decided that he wanted her dead to avoid giving her half his fortune. What's more Fraser was willing to pay someone £15, 000 to kill her. 

Weeks before she vanished, Nat Fraser is alleged to have said to his wife: "If you are not going to live with me, you will not be living with anyone."

Chillingly that came true. 

After she went missing, her son Jamie, who was only ten at the time, left a heartbreaking note for his mum. It read."Mother, where are u?" 

He'd never get an answer to that question. 

Arlene's body has never been found so her children and the rest of her family don't have a grave to visit. It's believed that her body was disposed off after she was murdered. Maybe even fed to pigs or burnt. 

What do Arlene's family think? 

Arlene's mother Isabelle Thompson spoke after Fraser's last appeal: "Hopefully we can get on with our lives, it's been never-ending."

In a shock documentary on Channnel 4, in 2013 Arlene's daughter Natalie Fraser who was just five-years-old when her mum went missing, said she was "100 per cent" sure that her dad's friend Hector Dick and not her dad Nat Fraser, who was guilty of killed her mum. 

Hector had testified against her dad. 

Why would Hector Dick kill Arlene? 

Did he think he was doing a friend a favour? Or, did he fall for Arlene and get upset when she spurned his advances? 

There has been no evidence pointing to that.

All of the evidence points to Nat Fraser arranging the murder of his wife. 

Read about the documentary here

Friday, 3 February 2017

I'm so excited - Vile City is NOW available on pre-order

Sorry, I haven't been updating you on my progress as regularly as I would like. 

I'd love to say that I'm really a superhero and have been whizzing around saving people and bringing down bad guys. Hey, we can all dream, can't we? 

Sadly, what I haven't been doing is being a superhero. 

What I've really been doing is working on Vigilante City, book 3 in my Detective in a Coma series featuring Inspector Duncan Waddell. A crime thriller where people who seem to have gotten away with murder are being targeted by a vigilante who kills them and shoves a newspaper cutting about the victim's alleged crime down their throats. 

Book 2, Cannibal City - where a killer goes around Glasgow kidnapping men, keeping them alive for weeks and then force-feeding them before killing them and eating their livers - is already written. 

Vile City Pre-order  
The good news though is that Vile City, the first ever book in the series is now available for your entertainment on pre-order in paperback. 

Sorry, but it's only available in the UK at the moment. Here's the link.

You can read an extract here

Vile City tells Shelley's story of how she tries to make it home.

What's it about then?  Vile City tells two parallel stories - Detective Inspector Waddell who's trying to catch a killer dubbed as the Glasgow Grabber and two, Shelley Carig, one of his victims who'll do anything to stay alive. 

I also received my copies of Vile City today and I'm so excited. Not only is the cover amazing, its also the first book I've had published with my full name Jennifer Lee Thomson. 

All of my other books have been written as Jenny Thomson (my crime thriller trilogy featuring gutsy Nancy Kerr and her former special forces boyfriend, Tommy McIntyre) and Jennifer Thomson (my self-help books, including Living Cruelty Free: Live a more Compassionate Life and Bullying - A Parent's guide.

My first book coming out with my full name is very important to me as one of the last things my dad said to me before he died after a long, brave battle with cancer was "Why don't you use your middle name?"

So, Vile city and all the other books to come are for you, dad

My late dad in his Elvis wig.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Solved at last - The World's End Murders

Christine Eadie and Helen Scott 

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Two best pals go out for a drink together. The 17-year-olds are having such a great time they didn't leave until closing time.

It was October 1977 and the two best pals were called Christine Eadie and Helen Scott.

That pub was called The World's End pub in Edinburgh's Old Town and for two teenage friends it would be the last time they were seen alive. After they left, Helen and Christine were never seen alive again.

This case has haunted me ever since I first heard about it. I just couldn't understand why two young women with their whole lives ahead of them who did the safe thing that all girls are told to do by their parents and stick together, in a busy, public place could still come to such harm.

What made it worse was that years went by and their killer/killers weren't found. How could that happen in any decent society?

The next day, Christine's naked body was discovered in Gosford Bay, East Lothian, by people out walking. Helen's naked body was found in a field.

Both girls had suffered horrendously before they died. They'd been brutally beaten, gagged, tied up, raped and strangled. Their bodies were just left out in the open and they were naked, showing the callous disregard their killer had for them. Covering up bodies normally suggests remorse.

Heartbreakingly, the two dead best friends were found six miles apart.

The police even staged a reconstruction

The police diligently came up with a list of 500 suspects and took over 13,000 statements from the public. But despite their efforts, the killer or killers were never apprehended. Witnesses said they'd seen the girls with two men, but despite appeals from the police the men were never traced.

Police knew they were looking for two men as different type of knots were used to tie up Christine and Helen.

A breakthrough came in 1997 when the police's cold case unit decided that further forensic work needed to be undertaken in the case and they found the DNA profile of a man, discovered on both girls. Unfortunately all 500 suspects were eliminated.

It wasn't until 2004 after the DNA was retested that they got a match to Edinburgh man Angus Sinclair.

He stood trial in 2007 for the World's End murders but the case collapsed due to insufficient evidence. 

It wasn't until he was convicted after a trial in 2014 that tragic Christine and Helen got justice at last. And it finally came out what a truly loathsome individual Sinclair was and he was dubbed Scotland's Worst Serial Killer.

He carried out the crimes with accomplice Gordon Hamilton, his late brother-in-law, who died in 1996 without facing justice. Both men's DNA was found on one of the young women.

Tragically, Christine and Helen might not have died if Sinclair had been arrested a few weeks before their murder after Patricia Wallace told police he tried to abduct her by dragging her into a caravanette. It was the same one tragic Helen and Christine had been taken to.

Read her story here

Vile Angus Sinclair

Sinclair's record -

1961 - aged 16,  convicted of raping and strangling neighbour Catherine Reehill, 8. He phoned for an ambulance himself saying, "A wee girl fell down the stairs."

1977 - Believed to have murdered six women in 7 months, including Helen and Christine.

1978 - murdered 17-year-old Mary Gallacher.

1978 - guilty of raping and sexually assaulting eleven children aged 6-14

2001 - Convicted of murdering Mary Gallacher, 17.

2014 - Justice at last for Helen and Christine as despicable Sinclair gets given 37 years, the longest sentence ever handed down by a Scottish court.