NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Accused 'had fight before fatal fire' in Fraserburgh in 1998

Gordon Graham
Image caption Gordon Graham died after a fire in 1998

A murder accused was involved in a fight with sons of the man he is alleged to have killed hours before the fatal fire in Fraserburgh in 1998, a court has heard.

Barry Henderson, 42, denies killing Gordon Graham, 43, and attempting to murder his wife Anne.

The blaze happened in the Aberdeenshire town's High Street.

William Morrison told a court: "It was a fight between Barry Henderson and a couple of Graham's lads."

It is alleged Mr Henderson wilfully set fire to materials in the ground floor stairwell and landing area before the fire took effect in two flats occupied by the Graham family.

At the High Court in Glasgow, publican Mr Morrison, 40, was asked by prosecutor Jim Keegan QC: "Was there an incident at Sugar and Spice in the High Street on May 2, 1998?"

Bruised nose

He replied: "I never saw it. I think there was a fight or skirmish."

The court heard that Mr Graham had three sons - David, James and Dean.

Mr Morrison was asked: "How was Barry Henderson?", and he replied: "I think he had a bruised nose."

The publican said he took Mr Henderson to his mother's home, washed his face and gave him one of his jumpers to wear.

Later that night they both went to DJs nightclub, but went their separate ways.

Image caption The fire happened in the town's High Street

Mr Morrison told the court when he and some friends left the nightclub in the early hours they noticed a fire in High Street.

Mr Morrison told defence QC Brian McConnachie that he had been detained by police on 3 December, 2009, for the murder of Mr Graham after police re-opened the inquiry.

Mr McConnachie then said: "You answer all their questions and make it clear if you had any information you would have told them," and Mr Morrison replied: "Yes."

The QC then said: "The police asked you what your involvement was in the murder of Gordon Graham," and the witness replied: "I had no involvement in the murder."

The court heard that the Grahams - who were dubbed "the family from hell' - had been moved from Fife to Fraserburgh three years before the fatal fire.

Mr Henderson denies all the charges against him and has lodged special defences of alibi and incrimination.

The trial before Lord Ericht continues.

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