A WOMAN found guilty of helping her married lover cover up the murder of his sick wife showed a complete lack of compassion for the victim’s children, according to the detective who led the enquiry.
Rita Heyster was jailed for four-and-a-half years at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday for her part in assisting killer Harry Jarvis conceal Carol Jarvis’ body beneath the floor of their Bathgate home two years ago.
Detective Inspector Phil Gachagan welcomed the jail term handed out to the 57-year-old, the adopted daughter of the Coldstream man who founded the Jus-Rol pastry firm, Tommy Forsyth.
The detective commented: “The length of sentence handed out to Rita Heyster reflects the serious nature of the part she played in attempting to disrupt the police investigation into Carol Jarvis’s disappearance and murder.
“In helping Harry Jarvis conceal his wife’s body under the floorboards, she showed a complete lack of compassion for Mrs Jarvis or the suffering her family would have to endure. It is my sincere hope that Carol’s loved ones take comfort from the sentence handed down and can begin to move on with their lives.”
Mrs Jarvis’s 25-year-old son, Kevin, and daughter Kimberley, 20, were in court to see their father’s mistress taken to the cells.
Kevin said: “I don’t have any feelings towards her. I don’t know if I should. I don’t know whether I should hate her, but I have no connection with this woman, so I don’t feel anything. I feel more for her family. They have lost a mum, albeit in a different way.”
He added: “I don’t believe that she is the victim of this devious wickedness of dad at all because, while he may have some of these traits ... she still has her own decision-making going on in her own head.”
Solicitor advocate Ray McMenamin, defending, pleaded for leniency for Heyster, instead blaming Harry Jarvis.
He told judge Lord Brailsford: “Her conviction marks the lowest point for a woman who has no previous convictions and has lived an existence, before this, without blemish and devoid of criminality. Her fall from grace has been inextricably linked to her relationship and infatuation with Harry Jarvis.”
Passing sentence, the judge said he took into account what he branded the “devious and manipulative” actions of Heyster’s lover, but added that she had committed a serious offence.
Harry Jarvis and Heyster went to trial separately on a murder charge earlier this year. Jarvis was found guilty in March, while Heyster was cleared, but a jury decided she had attempted to defeat the ends of justice by helping dump Mrs Jarvis’ body and repeatedly failing to notify the authorities of the death.
The trial heard she was the latest of a succession of women to fall for the charms of Harry Jarvis – who persuaded her to live in a shed in his garden for weeks.
Jarvis and Heyster had met in 2008, but the body of Carol Jarvis, who had suffered from a number of medical issues, was found in September 2009 among rubbish in the basement at her home.