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Retired police officer accused of murdering his wife tells jury he lied over her death

Police on the scene at Angusfield Road, Aberdeen.
Police on the scene at Angusfield Road, Aberdeen. Picture by DARRELL BENNS

A retired police inspector accused of murdering his wife has claimed her death was an accident and came following an argument in their bedroom.

Keith Farquharson insisted Alice Farquharson died following a struggle in bed after she asked whether he loved her and then hit him.

The 60 year-old – who admitted having affairs with three women – said his wife of 33 years did not “trust” him.

Farquharson denies murdering his 56-year-old wife – a school support assistant – at their home in Aberdeen on August 29 last year.

Jurors heard yesterday that a guilty plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide had previously been rejected by the crown.

Ex-traffic officer Farquharson, who retired from the police in 2010, testified at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow following the conclusion of the prosecution case on Friday.

He recalled getting up on the morning of the alleged murder and Mrs Farquharson asking whether he was awake.

Farquharson said: “A few minutes later, she said: ‘Do you love me?’

“I replied yes and she said: ‘You never tell me’. I probably groaned a bit as that was something she said to me frequently. She then slapped me quite hard on the side of the face.”

Farquharson – who often became emotional during his evidence – then described a struggle with his wife in their bedroom.

He said his wife had yelled at him: “I hate you. Why are you so cold? You show me no affection.”

Farquharson claimed he moved to stop his wife “lashing out”, which included putting his hand over mouth to stop her screaming.

He added: “She was still struggling, then it was if she started to choke. I knew something was wrong. When I let go she just rolled off the bed.”

The court was told he said her name a few times but she remained “motionless”.

Farquharson went on to dial 999, but his her life could not be saved. She was later found to have suffered “mechanical asphyxia”.

Jurors previously heard Farquharson told others he heard a noise while in the shower that morning before finding his wife lying in the room.

But he yesterday admitted the claim was not true.

Farquharson said: “I continued with the lie because I was in a state of shock. I felt guilty and did not want my family to know.”

He insisted he was not trying to stop Alice “breathing” that morning.

His QC Ian Duguid asked: “Did you intend to kill her?”

Farquharson: “No, not at all. It was totally accidental. I wish it never happened.”

The advocate also put to him: “Did you ever anticipate your wife was going to die during the struggle?”

He replied: “No. I thought she would calm down and then we would speak about it.”

Under cross-examination, prosecutor Alex Prentice QC put it to Farquharson his wife had been “fighting for her life” that morning.

Mr Prentice: “You compressed her neck and maintained pressure until she died.”

Farquharson: “I did not do it deliberately until she died.”

The murder charge alleges he seized hold of Mrs Farquharson and struggled with her before compressing her neck and face.

It is further claimed Farquharson left her unconscious after “restricting her breathing” by covering her nose and mouth.

He is then said to have caused blunt force injury “by means unknown”.

Evidence in the trial is now completed.

The trial, before Lady Stacey, continues.