Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Murder trial hears husband said Rita Heyster was wife

carol jarvis
Image caption Carol Jarvis's body was discovered in the family home in West Lothian

The husband of a woman whose body was found in the basement of their home tried to fool police into thinking his lover was his wife, a trial has heard.

Rita Heyster, 57, appeared to play along with the deception, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

Ms Heyster denies murdering Carol Jarvis, 47, in Bathgate, West Lothian, and blames her lover Harry Jarvis, 61.

The police called at the house two days before the remains of Mrs Jarvis were discovered almost two years ago.

It is alleged between 11 September and 15 September 2009 at Balbardie Crescent, Bathgate, Ms Heyster, from Livingston, West Lothian, and Harry Jarvis, murdered his wife, Carol, "by means unknown".

Then, it is claimed, they failed to notify the authorities of the death, wrapped the dead body in a blanket and hid Mrs Jarvis in the basement of the house.

Under bed

Pc Lynn Hodgson and colleague Pc Vincent Manning had been called to the house in Balbardie Crescent, because the Jarvis's grown-up children were worried about their mother's apparent disappearance.

Pc Hodgson told the court that in one of the bedrooms she looked under the bed and saw someone there.

The police officer described how she lifted the mattress to find Rita Heyster.

Mr Jarvis was standing at the door of the room and he said: "Get up Carol."

He also told the searching police officers: "This is my wife."

Pc Hodgson said her colleague "jumped the gun" and used his police radio to report that Mrs Jarvis had been found live and well.

But Pc Hodgson challenged Mr Jarvis: "I have met your wife before. That is not Carol. Why are you telling me lies?"

The officer told the trial that Ms Heyster said nothing to her and made no attempt to protest that her name was not Carol.

Pc Hodgson said: "As soon as he said that, the alarm bells started to ring. I asked 'What is going on? Why are you lying?"

She said Mr Jarvis became "flustered" and told the officers he was leaving his wife for Ms Heyster. There had been a row and Carol Jarvis had gone to Dundee.

The trial heard during the search, on 14 September 2009, police also discovered Ms Heyster had been living in a shed in the garden of the Balbardie Crescent house.

Ms Heyster told them she had been hiding there because she did not want Carol Jarvis to find out about the affair with Mr Jarvis.

The trial has heard Mrs Jarvis suffered from a range of medical problems which sometimes kept her confined to bed.

Due to her difficulties there were suspicions about Mr Jarvis's claim that she had gone to Dundee on her own.

The trial continues.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites