Jane Harrison murder: Partner 'claimed she was alive for 18 years'

A married man killed his lover but kept up the sham of her being alive for 18 years, the Old Bailey has heard.

Kevin Doherty, 57, of South Woodford, east London, denies murdering Jane Harrison, 32, who went missing in 1995.

The court heard Mr Doherty killed her and hid her body in a garage before reporting her missing the next day.

He called himself twice pretending to be the mother-of-two and claimed she had gone off with another man. Her body has never been found, the jury heard.

Ms Harrison was last seen shopping at Wood Green Shopping City in north London.

Mr Doherty claims he had dropped her off near her mother's home in Stoke Newington before he went to her home.

'Sham telephone call'

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said the defendant first called Ms Harrison's flat in Highbury from his mobile phone and received the call.

He then told the babysitter, who heard him speak on the phone, that it was Ms Harrison calling to say she would be home later. He appeared "sweaty and panicky", the court heard.

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

"The call came from his mobile. He was pretending to speak to Jane."

He made another call when Ms Harrison's older son returned home and asked about her.

The teenager heard him say on the phone: "Don't worry, come home."

Mr Rees said: "This was the second sham telephone call the defendant made to the flat using his mobile phone, pretending to be Jane Harrison.

"Essentially, he was trying to manufacture an alibi."

The defendant claims he had been having an on-off relationship with Ms Harrison for about three years but also lived with his wife sometimes.

"He said he did not kill Jane Harrison and they had not argued," Mr Rees said.

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

Mr Rees said Ms Harrison was a devoted mother to her two sons who would have contacted them if she was still alive. Mr Doherty was the father of the youngest child.

The trial continues.

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