NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Accused's vital signs 'normal' hours after wife's death

Malcolm Webster
Image caption Malcolm Webster denies all the allegations made against him

The pulse and blood pressure of a man accused of murdering his wife were normal just a few hours after her death, a court has heard.

Malcolm Webster denies murdering first wife Claire Morris in Aberdeenshire by drugging her, crashing their car and setting it on fire in 1994.

He also denies attempting to murder his second wife in New Zealand in 1999.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Mr Webster had been examined in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after the fatal crash.

The 51-year-old, from Guildford in Surrey, is alleged to have carried out the offences to gain insurance money.

Dr John Hiscox, a consultant in emergency medicine, was asked to examine the medical notes taken at the hospital after Mr Webster was admitted.

He said Mr Webster's pulse was 72 beats per minute, which the doctor described as normal.

Dr Hiscox was then asked by Advocate depute Derek Ogg QC, prosecuting, about Mr Webster's blood pressure. He said it too was normal.

On fire

The court was told the medical notes contained an account of the crash which Mr Webster had given to hospital staff.

It recorded him saying he was driving the car round a corner, not too fast,

It said he tried to avoid a motorcyclist and went off the road.

Image caption The jury is expected to visit the fatal crash scene on Tuesday

The notes continued: "Remembers trying to get wife out of passenger seat on his side, climbing up embankment, then losing consciousness and waking up in an ambulance."

The court heard police found a Daihatsu Sportrak on fire, and Ms Morris's body was later removed.

Mr Webster stands accused of fraudulently obtaining more than £200,000 after cashing in insurance policies following the death of his first wife, who was from Oldmeldrum.

He is further charged with deliberately crashing his car in Auckland, in February 1999, in a bid to kill his second wife, Felicity Drumm, who was a passenger.

It is also alleged he intended to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee, from Oban, Argyll, to gain access to her estate and told her he was terminally ill with leukaemia when he was actually in good health.

The trial, before Lord Bannatyne continues. The jury is expected to visit the fatal crash scene on Tuesday.

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