NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Malcolm Webster case: Wife killer loses legal aid bid over headstone

Claire Morris and Malcolm Webster
Malcolm Webster was convicted of murdering Claire Morris

A man who murdered his wife in a staged car crash has lost a bid to receive legal aid for his effort to have her headstone returned to a graveyard.

Malcolm Webster, of Surrey, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for murdering Claire Morris in Aberdeenshire in 1994.

Her headstone in Tarves, which still had her married name and referred to a "dear wife", was later removed.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board said an application for civil legal aid was refused.

A spokesperson said: "It did not meet the statutory merits tests. Mr Webster can ask the board to review this decision."

Aberdeenshire Council earlier said it was an emotional case and agreed to a request from Ms Morris' brother Peter that the headstone be removed.

Former nurse Webster was found guilty in May last year of murdering Ms Morris, who was originally from Upchurch, in Kent.

The fatal crash in 1994 was originally treated as an accident. Webster claimed to have swerved to avoid a motorcyclist.

However, the crash was later reinvestigated, after concerns were raised in the wake of a second crash, in Auckland.

New tests showed Ms Morris had traces of drugs in her system.

Webster was jailed for life for the crimes, committed as part of a plot to claim almost £1m in life assurance money.

He is set to appeal.

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