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House of Horror seeks new tenants

By Kevin Duguid

The council house was the site of a gruesome cover-up but is available to rent

A HOUSE of horror where a mother-of-four was murdered and hidden under the floorboards is set to be leased out to council tenants.

But prospective residents of the former home of wife killer Harry Jarvis will be warned about its gruesome past.The semi-detached house in Bathgate had been boarded up since police concluded investigations at the property where Carol Jarvis was murdered by her husband.

West Lothian Council had been unable to put in new tenants as the house was regarded as a “crime scene” until all court cases were concluded.

Harry Jarvis’ mistress, Rita Heyster, 57, was last week convicted of defeating the ends of justice by helping him conceal the murder at Balbardie Crescent.

And Jarvis, 61, was convicted of murdering his 47-year-old wife after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier this year.

Now, council chiefs are set to offer the property, which has lain empty since 2009, to people on the local authority’s housing list.

Any potential tenants will be told about the murder in case they have any reservations about taking up the lease.Heyster lived in a shed in the back garden before Mrs Jarvis was killed and hidden in the basement of her marital home.The shed itself was destroyed by high winds and has since been removed.A neighbour in Balbardie Crescent, who asked not to be named, said: “The place has been empty since the last of the police left.

“Some people might have a problem with living there, but I’m sure they’ll find somebody who will take it.”A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “The property is currently empty due to the ongoing legal issues. Once we are advised the issues have been concluded, the property will be returned to normal working use.”

Jarvis had denied killing Mrs Jarvis by “means unknown” but was found guilty of the murder and staging a cover-up in which he lied to his children and police about where she was.

Heyster was cleared of murder after it was ruled there was not enough evidence to convict her. The trial heard that Jarvis planned to create a new life for himself using cash which he believed Heyster, from Peebles, had acquired from her wealthy family.

Mrs Jarvis had a host of medical difficulties. Her worried daughter called in police when Mrs Jarvis apparently disappeared and the Jarvis children didn’t believe their father’s shifting stories that she had taken a trip to Dundee or gone into respite care.

On September 16, 2009, Mrs Jarvis’ decomposing body, taped up in a duvet, was found in the basement.

Jarvis denied he had murdered Mrs Jarvis so he could be with Heyster and said their relationship was “asexual”, adding that he put his wife under the floorboards because he did not want to “give her away” when she died.

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