Nat Fraser confessed to hiring a hitman to kill his wife then burning her body and grinding down her teeth, his one-time friend has told a court.
Fruit and vegetable wholesaler Fraser also boasted that he had made fools of the police, the High Court in Edinburgh heard on Friday.
Farmer Hector Dick told the court that the fate of Fraser's wife, Arlene, was described to him in the cab of a lorry just weeks after the mother-of-two had disappeared from her Elgin home in April 1998.
Mr Dick, 56, told the trial that Fraser said he had "help from down south" to get rid of his wife, and was confident that nothing would ever be found.
The farmer told advocate depute Alex Prentice QC that he did not tell police of Fraser's statement at the time, because he had helped to destroy a Ford Fiesta which he believed could have played a part in Mrs Fraser's disappearance.
The court heard that the conversation had started when Fraser told Mr Dick he had been given a rough time by police during interviews.
Mr Dick, of Mosstowie, Elgin, said: "He thought it was all a big joke."
Asked by Mr Prentice if he had enquired about Mrs Fraser, Mr Dick replied: "He said she was gone.
"He was very self-satisfied and said she wouldn't be back."
The farmer told the court he had been visited by police in May 1998, when he returned from a holiday to Majorca, and their attitude was "more aggressive" than when he had last spoken with them.
It was at around this time that Mr Dick says he got in touch with Fraser, who accompanied him on a coal delivery.
Mr Dick said he told Fraser about the tough police questioning, but his friend thought "it was a bit of a joke".
Mr Dick said: "His favourite topic was that she would never be found. He said the body had been burned and there would be no DNA.
"His initial comment to me was that he had help and he had gotten help from someone down south."
Asked by Mr Prentice: "Help to do what?", Mr Dick replied: "To get rid of his wife".
Fraser, 53, denies attacking his wife between April 28 and May 7, 1998 at the home they once shared in Smith Street, New Elgin, or elsewhere in Scotland.
It is alleged that he strangled her, or murdered her "by other means to the prosecutor unknown".
The indictment against Fraser says he knew his wife had seen a solicitor about divorcing him and getting a cash pay-off.
He has lodged papers in court claiming that 14 years ago on April 28 he left the address in Burnside Road, Lhanbryde, where he was staying at about 7.30am and spent the day making van deliveries to hotels, restaurants and shops - pausing to make a phone call just after 9am.
Fraser also claims that if his estranged wife was murdered, that the man responsible could be Mr Dick. The trial continues.
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