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Former Aberdeen police inspector accused of murdering wife says her death was an accident

Alice Farquharson
Alice Farquharson

A retired Aberdeen police inspector accused of murdering his wife has claimed her death was an accident.

Keith Farquharson insisted Alice Farquharson passed away following a struggle in bed after she asked if 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 56 year-old Alice, a school support assistant, at their home in Aberdeen last August 29.

Police at a house on Angusfield Avenue

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

Ex-traffic officer Farquharson – who retired from the police in 2010 – testified at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He recalling getting up on the morning of the alleged murder and Alice asking if he was awake.

Farquharson went on: “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 stated Alice 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”. This included putting his hand over mouth to stop her screaming.

But, the dad 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 High Court in Glasgow

The court heard he said Alice’s name a few times but she remained “motionless”.

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

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

But he today 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.”

Jurors earlier heard Farquharson being quizzed about his marriage.

Farquharson admitted having an affair with a woman he met at his local gym.

The fling ended when his wife and family found out in 2008.

But, the relationship restarted last year after Farquharson met the woman again while out watching rugby at a pub.

Jurors heard how Alice had searched the name of the woman online.

But, asked if Alice knew her husband was seeing her again, Farquharson said: “Not at all.”

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Mr Duguid then questioned Farquharson about two other women.

The court was told last week how “sexually explicit” messages from 2018 had been found on the ex-police officer’s phone.

The QC: “You knew who these ladies were. Were you having extra-marital affairs with them?”

Farquharson: “Yes, I was.”

He again insisted Alice did not know about this. Farquharson said any adultery with these women had ended by 2019.

Mr Duguid asked if Alice ever checked her husband’s mobile.

Farquharson: “She regularly looked at my phone. She did not trust me.”

Under cross-examination, Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC later put 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 Alice, 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”.

The trial, before Lady Stacey, continues.

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