A MAN accused of murdering his estranged wife was pacing around and his hands were shaking on the day she disappeared, a court has heard.

Fruit and vegetable wholesaler Nat Fraser seemed very uneasy when he visited restaurant proprietor Sandra Stewart more than 14 years ago, she told police at the time. Mrs Stewart, now 64 and retired, was giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Fraser, 53, denies acting with others to murder his wife Arlene Fraser, who was 33 when she vanished from her home in New Elgin, Moray, on Tuesday, April 28, 1998. He has lodged a special defence of alibi, saying he spent that day making deliveries in the area.

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Prosecutor Alex Prentice, QC, referred Mrs Stewart to a statement she gave to police in May 1998. Referring to the visit she received on April 28, she told officers: "I noted Nat appeared very uneasy. He was agitated and paced around the public area. After a couple of minutes he settled at the serving counter, where I was standing. He leaned on the counter with his elbows and I could see that his hands were shaking."

Fraser and his colleague were late to arrive the following day, Wednesday, April 29, the court heard.

The witness told police: "Nat came bouncing in saying: 'Have you seen the paper?' He said: 'She's gone missing.' His mood had changed from the previous day, in that he was not unduly concerned.

"He appeared more concerned about possible consequences for himself."

Mrs Stewart said she would have been accurate when she spoke to police.

The trial continues.