THE family of a woman whose "controlling husband" arranged her cold-blooded murder said they never expect him to reveal her fate as he was jailed for life for a second time.
Nat Fraser must spend at least 17 years behind bars for organising the "shocking and wicked" killing of Arlene Fraser, whose body has never been found.
The mother-of-two was 33 when she vanished from her home in New Elgin, Moray, on April 28 1998.
The sentence, which followed a retrial lasting more than five weeks at the High Court in Edinburgh, marks the end of Fraser's 14-year bid to evade justice.
Arlene's parents, Hector McInnes and Isabelle Thompson, and her sister Carol Gillies came face-to-face with the man responsible for her death during both murder trials and numerous appeal hearings.
Mrs Gillies, 49, said it was time to move on and "lock the cell door" on Fraser.
"Every time I hear those words on radio or television, 'remains have been found', I think it's maybe going to be Arlene," she said later. "But it's never going to be, I have to accept Nat Fraser is never going to tell us the truth."
Described as "possessive and controlling", Fraser instigated the murder of his estranged wife and disposal of her body after she began divorce proceedings.
The trial heard a claim Fraser told former friend Hector Dick he'd paid a hitman £15,000 to kill her and said the body had been burned and teeth ground up.
Mrs Fraser disappeared after seeing her children – Jamie, then 10, and five-year-old Natalie – off to school.
She was to see a solicitor that day about a divorce, prompted by an assault the previous month in which Fraser had gripped her by the neck. She never made that appointment.
Her son left a poignant note at the house, asking: "Where are U?"
The search quickly became a high-profile hunt and her family, who all travelled to Elgin, were struck by Fraser's agitated demeanour and inappropriate jokes.
He told her father the children would "soon forget their mother", when nobody else knew she was dead.
Fraser, 53, insisted Arlene had run off with cash stashed in the house but her loved ones knew she was a fantastic mum who'd never abandon her children.
They soon suspected her fruit and vegetable wholesaler husband, with his history of aggression towards her, was involved.
He was worried about a costly divorce and, in a chilling prophecy weeks before she vanished, told her: "If you are not going to live with me, you will not be living with anyone."
Key witness Hector Dick told the court Fraser had said to him: "If I can't have her, nobody will."
In 2003, evidence suggesting Fraser had planted his wife's rings back in the house in an attempt to bolster his claim she had left him became a cornerstone of the Crown case.
The engagement, wedding and eternity rings were found by Mrs Fraser's stepmother, Catherine McInnes, in the bathroom nine days after her disappearance. The Crown never argued Fraser carried out the killing, but rather said he instructed and organised the murder.
Delivering his sentence, judge Lord Bracadale branded Fraser's role "shocking and wicked". He said: "You instigated in cold blood the premeditated murder of your wife and mother of your children.
"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."
There were whispered cries of "Yes" from family members as the verdict was delivered while Fraser shook his head.
Fraser was jailed for at least 25 years in 2003 and has spent seven years and nine months behind bars. The 17-year term effectively means he will serve the entirety of that initial sentence.