A JURY who convicted former social worker Andrew Hunter of strangling

his pregnant wife with a dog's lead had ample evidence before them to

re- turn a verdict of guilty of murder, three Judges ruled yesterday.

Lord Emslie, Lord Justice General, sitting with Lords Cowie and Clyde

at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, rejected Hunter's appeal.

Lord Emslie said: ''In our judgment this was not a narrow case. We are

certainly persuaded that the evidence before the jury was not only

sufficient but ample and eloquent of the guilt of the appellant.''

Hunter, 37, of Dundee Street, Carnoustie, was convicted by majority

verdict at the High Court in Dundee last August. He had lodged a special

defence of alibi.

His 30-year-old wife, Lynda, a social worker, disappeared from home in

August 1987. Her car was found in a Manchester street two days later.

Her body was found six months later in Melville Lower Wood, Ladybank,


Lord Emslie said the Appeal Court also rejected criticism of the trial

Judge's charge to the jury. It was claimed by Mr Lionel Daiches, QC for

Hunter, that the trial Judge, Lord Brand, had misdirected the jury in

law by omitting to refer to Hunter's evidence in relation to certain

statements which he made to the police.

Mr Daiches earlier told the court that the evidence relied on by the

Crown ''pointed the finger of suspicion'' but that evidence fell far

short of the standards the law required which was proof ''beyond

reasonable doubt.''

He argued that there was no forensic evidence to link Hunter with the

assault and murder of his wife. All the Crown evidence showed was a

''possibility'' of Hunter having committed the crime. All the Crown

evidence was circumstantial.

Lord Cowie commented that the evidence of a witness who saw a man

leaving a light-coloured hatchback car and carrying a large bundle into

a wood, coupled with witnesses who shortly before claimed they saw

Hunter in a similar car accompanied by a woman could be said to ''drive

a horse and cart'' through his alibi.