Retired police inspector jailed for murdering wife

Keith Farquharson choked his wife Alice moments after she asked if he still loved her.

Jailed: Keith Farquharson will serve at least 15 years behind bars..
Jailed: Keith Farquharson will serve at least 15 years behind bars..

A retired police inspector who murdered his wife has been jailed for life.

Keith Farquharson, 60, choked 56-year-old pupil support assistant Alice Farquharson at their home in Aberdeen on August 29.

He was ordered to spend at least 15 years behind pars before he is eligible for parole.

Farquharson previously had a plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide rejected.

Alice Farquharson.
Alice Farquharson.

Sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Stacey told him: “You deprived your wife of what would have been many more years of her life.

“You deprived your two daughters, son and your wife’s relatives of her society.

“You had been a police officer for many years.

“It is distressing a man who held such a position should behave like this and commit such a serious crime.

“What you did has destroyed your family and taken away the trust children should have in their father.”

The couple’s three grown-up children – chemical engineer Joanna, teacher Sarah and son Kerr – who is in the RAF – were not in court for sentencing.

The pair had been married for 33 years, but Farquharson told jurors how he had a number of affairs.

He had flings with two women in 2018. The court heard how “sexually explicit” messages had been discovered on his phone.

“You deprived your wife of what would have been many more years of her life.”

Lady Stacey

Farquharson previously had a relationship with another woman which ended in 2008 when teaching assistant Alice discovered.

But, the affair was rekindled last year after meeting her while out watching rugby in a pub.

Alice was found to have made internet searches for this woman last year. Farquharson admitted his wife did not “trust” him.

On the morning of the murder, Farquharson got up to start his shift as a school bus driver having retired from the police in 2010.

As she lay in bed, Alice asked him: “Do you love me?” After he groaned, she slapped him.

The ex-traffic officer insisted they struggled and he put his hand over Alice’s mouth to stop her screaming.

Farquharson went on: “It was as if she started to choke. I knew something was wrong. When I let go she just rolled off the bed.”

He made a panicked 999 call but medics were unable to save Alice.

She was found to have suffered “mechanical asphyxia”.

Farquharson later claimed to relatives he discovered Alice stricken in the bedroom after hearing a noise while in the shower.

But, he told the trial: “I continued with the lie because I was in a state of shock. I felt guilty and did not want my family to know.”

Retired police inspector: Keith Farquharson

Detectives initially treated the death as “non-suspicious”.

However, Inspector Christopher Kerr – one of the officers at the Farquharsons’ home that morning – pushed for further inquiries.

He insisted a post-mortem should be “expedited immediately” eventually leading to a murder probe.

Farquharson repeatedly sobbed in the witness box as he insisted the death was “totally accidental”.

But, a pathologist concluded Alice’s neck had been compressed and that bruises on her face were consistent with gripping.

Prosecutors stated she had been “fighting for her life” that morning.

Farquharson’s QC Ian Duguid said on Monday the victim impact statements from the couple’s children were “moving”.

He added: “These are a clear indication of how Mrs Farquharson was the centre of her children’s lives

“They state the family unit has been shattered by these events.

“I do not think there is a better description. These are the consequences of the terrible events that morning.

“It is an unbelievable end to a relationship of 33 years.”

After the verdict last month it emerged Farquharson had previously been fined £500 for a breach of the peace in 1998 while serving in the former Grampian Police.

This was for sending a poem to a 28 year-old WPC.

He was also demoted from inspector to constable before later returning to his previous rank.


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