NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Man on trial after denying 1998 Fraserburgh fire murder charge

Gordon Graham
Image caption Gordon Graham died in 1998

A man has gone on trial accused of murdering a 43-year-old man in a fire in Fraserburgh 19 years ago.

The blaze in the Aberdeenshire town's High Street in May in 1998 claimed the life of 43-year-old Gordon Graham.

Barry Henderson, 42, denies killing Mr Graham and attempting to murder his wife Anne.

The prosecution at the High Court in Glasgow claims Mr Henderson wilfully set fire to materials in the ground floor and the blaze spread.

Jurors were read out a joint minute of agreed facts in the case.

They were told that two flats at 74 High Street were occupied by Mr Graham, his wife, and family members, and that the Graham family were known locally as "the family from hell".

Five-week trial

The jury also heard that Mr Graham died of smoke inhalation and his body was scorched by fire.

At the time of his death he was said to be "substantially under the influence of alcohol and cannabis".

Mr Henderson is also accused of assaulting a woman in a nightclub in Fraserburgh in 1998.

He faces another charge that he behaved in a threatening manner on a bus between Crimond and Fraserburgh last November.

Mr Henderson, who is represented by defence QC Brian McConnachie, denies all the charges against him and has lodged special defences of alibi and incrimination.

Judge Lord Ericht told the jurors: "It is estimated this trial will last for five weeks."

The trial continues.

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