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Retired inspector tells murder trial his wife died 'by accident'

Alice Farquharson Image copyright POLICE SCOTLAND
Image caption Alice Farquharson died in Aberdeen

A retired police inspector accused of murdering his wife in Aberdeen has told a trial her death was an accident.

Keith Farquharson, 60, insisted 56-year-old Alice died following a struggle in bed, after she asked if he loved her and then hit him.

Jurors heard that a guilty plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide from Mr Farquharson - who denies murder - had previously been rejected.

He admitted having affairs with three women.

He said his wife of 33 years - a school pupil support assistant - did not trust him.

The former traffic officer, who retired from the police in 2010, testified at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He recalled getting up on the morning in question and his wife asking if he was awake.

He 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."

Mr Farquharson then described a struggle with his wife in their bedroom.

'Rolled off bed'

He stated she said: "I hate you. Why are you so cold? You show me no affection."

Mr Farquharson said he moved to stop his wife "lashing out". This 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 heard he said her name a few times but she remained "motionless".

Image caption Mr Farquharson's wife died at the couple's home in Augusfield Avenue

Mr Farquharson went on to dial 999, but she could not be saved. She was later found to have suffered "mechanical asphyxia".

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

He admitted the claim was not true.

Mr 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 her breathing that morning.

'Calm down'

His defence QC Ian Duguid asked: "Did you intend to kill her?"

Mr Farquharson said: "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 later put to Mr Farquharson his wife had been "fighting for her life" that morning.

Mr Prentice said: "You compressed her neck and maintained pressure until she died."

Mr Farquharson said: "I did not do it deliberately until she died."

Evidence in the trial is now completed.

The trial, before Lady Stacey, continues.

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