Retired police inspector jailed for murdering wife in Aberdeen

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Alice Farquharson and Keith FarquharsonImage source, Police Scotland
Image caption,
Keith Farquharson claimed his wife's death was an accident

A former police inspector has been jailed for at least 15 years after being found guilty of murdering his wife in Aberdeen.

Keith Farquharson, 60, claimed his 56-year-old wife Alice died by accident, following a struggle in bed in August last year.

The former traffic officer - who retired from the police in 2010 - claimed he had put his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.

A jury found him guilty of murder.

Sentencing Farquharson at the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Stacey told him: "You deprived your wife of what would have been many more years of her life.

"You had been a police officer for many years. It is distressing a man who held such a position should behave like this and commit such a serious crime.

"What you did has destroyed your family and taken away the trust children should have in their father."

Farquharson had admitted having affairs with three women, and said his wife of 33 years - a pupil support assistant at Hazlehead Primary School - did not trust him.

After her death he initially claimed he heard a noise while in the shower that morning, then found his wife lying in the room.

However he later admitted the claim was not true.

Farquharson told the trial that he had continued with the lie because he was "in a state of shock".

He said: "I felt guilty and did not want my family to know."

Detectives initially treated Alice's death as "non-suspicious", but one officer pushed for further inquiries.

The findings of a post-mortem examination eventually led to the death being treated as murder.

Image caption,
Emergency services were called to the couple's home in Aberdeen's Angusfield Avenue

Farquharson's defence QC Ian Duguid said victim impact statements from the couple's children were "moving".

He said: "These are a clear indication of how Mrs Farquharson was the centre of her children's lives. They state the family unit has been shattered by these events.

"I do not think there is a better description. These are the consequences of the terrible events that morning.

"It is an unbelievable end to a relationship of 33 years."

In a statement following the verdict, Alice's family said: "She was an incredibly kind and caring person, with a great love for life and the people in it.

"She was always thinking of others and put everyone else before herself.

"Our family will never be the same again and we cannot begin to describe the devastating impact this tragedy has had on us."

In 1998, Farquharson had been fined £500 for breach of the peace after admitting sending an obscene poem to a young female constable.

He was demoted from inspector to constable after the case.