NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Malcolm Webster trial: Jury retires to consider verdict

Claire Morris, Malcolm Webster and Felicity Drumm
Image caption Malcolm Webster denies murdering Claire Morris, left, and trying to kill Felicity Drumm

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering his first wife and trying to kill his second has retired to reach a verdict.

Malcolm Webster, 52, denies murdering Claire Morris in an Aberdeenshire crash in 1994 for a life insurance payout.

Mr Webster, of Surrey, also denies attempting to kill Felicity Drumm in New Zealand in 1999.

Judge Lord Bannatyne sent the jury out at the High Court in Glasgow after telling them the verdicts open to them.

They retired shortly after 1000 BST.

Lord Bannatyne told the nine women and six men that the three verdicts open to them on each charge were guilty, not guilty and not proven.

He said: "I invite you to retire to consider your verdict. You can take as long or as short a time as you consider necessary."

The jury broke for lunch at about 1300 BST and resumed deliberations after 1400 BST.

Lord Bannatyne earlier told the jury there was enough evidence in law to convict the accused of murdering his first wife, and trying to kill his second.

'Rat bag'

He told them it was for them to decide on the character, quality and strength of that evidence.

Mr Webster, from Guildford, also denies intending to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee, from Oban, Argyll, to gain access to her estate.

Advocate depute Derek Ogg QC had said in his closing speech Mr Webster was "a most cruel, practised deceiver" who, if convicted, would become one of the most notorious murderers of modern times.

However, Mr Webster's defence counsel Edgar Prais QC said that although the accused was a "liar", a "thief", a "philanderer" and a "rat bag" he was not a killer.

The long-running case started on 1 February.

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