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Man ‘killed girlfriend and hid body in a lock-up’, court told

PUBLISHED: 17:10 09 January 2013 | UPDATED: 19:34 09 January 2013

Jane Harrison was last seen in 1995. Picture: Met Police/PA Wire

Jane Harrison was last seen in 1995. Picture: Met Police/PA Wire

A married warehouse manager killed his lover, hid her body and pretended she was still alive for almost two decades, a court heard today.

Kevin Doherty, 57, told police he thought Jane Harrison, 32, had gone off with another man, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

She was last seen shopping with him at Wood Green Shopping City for a holiday they were due to take two days later in June 1995.

Prosecutors claim Doherty, of South Woodford, killed her, took her body to a lock-up garage and reported her missing the next day.

The body of the mother-of-two has never been found.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees said the evidence against Doherty was only circumstantial.

He told jurors that a few hours after Miss Harrison disappeared Doherty used his mobile to secretly ring her flat in Highbury.

He picked up the phone and was heard to say: “Where are you now?”

The court heard babysitters said Doherty looked “sweaty and panicky” and claimed it was Miss Harrison on the phone, saying she would be home later.

Mr Rees added: “This purported phone call was nothing more than a continuation of the charade the defendant had embarked upon.

“This call was not made by Jane Harrison. The call came from his mobile. He was pretending to speak to Jane.”

Shortly afterwards, the phone rang again when Miss Harrison’s teenage son Ryan returned home and asked where his mother was.

He heard Doherty say: “Don’t worry, come home.”

Mr Rees said: “This was the second sham telephone the defendant made to the flat using his mobile phone, pretending to be Jane Harrison. Essentially, he was trying to manufacture an alibi.”

Doherty was questioned about her abduction in 1995 but was arrested last year after a murder inquiry was launched.

He told officers he and Miss Harrison had an on-off relationship during the three years they were together, with him sometimes living with his wife.

Mr Rees added: “He said he did not kill Jane Harrison and they had not argued.

“He said he was not a jealous person even though they had split up on a number of occasions.

“He said he kept going back and was besotted with her. It was a sexual thing and he was not in love with her.”

Doherty claims to have dropped Miss Harrison off near her mother’s house in Stoke Newington before going to her flat nearby.

Extensive records checks failed to establish she was still alive although the body had not been found, said Mr Rees.

She was a devoted mother to Ryan and Taylor, the baby she had with Doherty. It would be inconceivable that she would not contact them if she was still alive, he added.

Mr Rees said Doherty, who had three children from his marriage, was working as a warehouse manager at the time and often hired vans.

Miss Harrison liked going on holidays and he would pay for her and her family to travel to countries such as Portugal.

“The defendant and Miss Harrison maintained that volatile on-off relationship until her disappearance,” he added.

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.

Doherty, 57, of South Woodford, east London, denies murder.

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