Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Woman accused of Bathgate murder 'lived in hut'

A woman accused of murdering a mother-of-four was living in a hut in the victim's garden, a court has heard.

Rita Heyster is accused of killing Carol Jarvis, 47, and hiding the body at a house in Bathgate, West Lothian.

Kimberley Jarvis, the victim's daughter, told the High Court in Edinburgh she found it "creepy" she had been living in their garden hut.

Ms Heyster, 57, from Livingston, denies the charges and blames co-accused Harry Jarvis, 61, for any wrong doing.

It is alleged that she and Mr Jarvis murdered his wife "by means unknown" before hiding the body in a basement.

Ms Jarvis, 20, who is studying psychology and philosophy at Dundee University, told the court she imagined Ms Heyster was "like a girlfriend" to her father.

When she found out someone was living in the hut, she said it was "weird and creepy", and had "suspicions" about who it was, which later proved to be correct when she spoke to her father.

She added: "He told me she had lost her house and her car and her money and he felt responsible."

'Internet contact'

Advocate depute Gary Allan QC, prosecuting, asked: "Did your mother know that you father's lady friend was living in the hut through the wall?"

Ms Jarvis replied: "I told her that was what I had found and she could have made her own conclusions."

She said the last time she spoke to her mother was when she left home to begin her studies.

The first day of the trial heard how mother-of-four Mrs Jarvis suffered from ill health and was sometimes forced to use a wheelchair.

Although her husband looked after her, he often disappeared, sometimes for weeks, with women he had contacted through internet websites, the court was told.

When he returned, Mrs Jarvis allowed him back in their home, telling her family: "I am just glad he is here."

The trial is expected to last about four weeks.

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