A married man killed his lover, hid her body and kept up a charade that she was still alive for 18 years, the Old Bailey heard. Kevin Doherty even made two sham calls to himself claiming they were from Jane Harrison, 32. He told police he thought she had gone off with another man, jurors were told.
Accused of murder: Jane Harrison, was allegedly killed by Kevin Doherty, who went on to hide her body and pretend she was still alive, a jury at the Old Bailey was told
She was last seen shopping with him for a holiday they were due to take two days later in June 1995. But the prosecution said he killed her, took her body to a lock-up garage and reported her missing the next day. The body of the mother of two boys has never been found and the evidence against Doherty was only circumstantial, said Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting. "This case is rather different in a number of respects from many cases tried in this court. The prosecution have no evidence of a dead body. We say that although she is dead her body hasn't been discovered. We say there is a reason for this. After this defendant killed her he managed to dispose of the body in such a way as to conceal it from the authorities or anyone else who might come across it and bring it to the attention of the authorities. Another particular feature is this: the prosecution have no direct evidence that the defendant was responsible for Jane Harrison's death. We are not in a position to call any eyewitnesses who claim to have seen the murderous attack and there is no CCTV evidence,"- the prosecutor said.
With no body and no hard evidence linking him to the disappearance, the investigation was closed on September 1, 1995. Indeed, there is no evidence this defendant has ever admitted he killed Jane. Instead, the prosecution relies on what is commonly referred to as circumstantial evidence. Doherty, a married father-of-four who now works as a black cab driver, claims Miss Harrison had decided to start a new life with another man. But public appeals and searches with Interpol have failed to track her down, the court heard. Doherty and Miss Harrison began a "volatile, on-off" relationship in 1992 after they met in a nightclub and had a son together in April 1994. He was married at the time and had a house with his wife in east London, but would often stay at his lover's flat in Poets Road, Highbury, north London. Doherty, who worked at the time in a warehouse for craft firm Baker Ross, took her on lavish holidays to destinations including Tenerife and the Seychelles. But the pair had begun to have explosive rows in the months before she disappeared, with Miss Harrison often showing up at his workplace to quarrel with him. On June 15, 1995, they went to Wood Green Shopping City in north London, where they bought items including a keyring featuring a picture of themselves together. Doherty claims he had sex with her in his Ford Escort Cabriolet on the way and that he dropped her off in Petherton Road, Highbury, so she could visit her uncle.
Never found: Ms Harrison's body has not been found by police, a jury at the Old Bailey (pictured) heard
But Mr Rees said: "The prosecution contention is that this aspect of his statement is a lie. It was a lie that was told to conceal the fact that actually he drove elsewhere for purposes connected to her murder. We suggest the lock-up garage he kept in Walthamstow is the most likely destination. Plainly it was a perfect place to keep someone he had either abducted or killed.'"
After returning to Miss Harrison's council flat, Doherty made a series of phone calls from his mobile to her landline and pretended to others that he was talking to her. He also told her son Ryan, then aged 14, that he was certain his mother would return and called a neighbour to say he would go out looking for his mistress in local pubs. "But the prosecution say this was just a charad. He wasn't looking for her in local pubs. The evidence shows he had driven his car back to the Woodford area. The fact is he was effectively manufacturing for himself a false alibi,"said Mr Rees.
Miss Harrison was devoted to her family and the idea she would disappear without once contacting them was "beyond fanciful", he added. Doherty had booked a holiday to Florida for the weekend after her disappearance, but cancelled it after she vanished, the court was told. But with no body and no hard evidence linking him to the disappearance, the investigation was closed on September 1, 1995. Doherty was not re-arrested until May 29 last year. When he was quizzed by police he said he was not a jealous man and denied he had argued with Miss Harrison in the run-up to her disappearance. Doherty was questioned about her abduction in 1995 but was arrested last year after a murder inquiry was launched.