Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Garry Lockhart guilty of murdering wife and son

Garry Lockhart (L) and Janet Lockhart (R) Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Garry Lockhart was found guilty of killing Janet Lockhart and their two year old son, Michael

A man who killed his wife and young son in Midlothian has been found guilty of both their murders.

Garry Lockhart, 33, was found guilty of killing Janet Lockhart, 29, and their two-year-old son, Michael, at their home in Bonnyrigg, on 28 December 2013.

The funeral director had offered a guilty plea to murdering his wife and the culpable homicide of his son.

However, this plea, made on the grounds of diminished responsibility, was rejected by the Crown.

He will be sentenced on 16 October.

Edinburgh High Court heard he murdered his wife and son after he came home from a night out drinking.

Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr Andrew Wells told the court on Wednesday that Lockhart was not suffering from any mental illness or disorder when he strangled his wife and smothered his son.

However he said, Lockhart's decision-making could have been impaired by his consumption of alcohol and an acute stress reaction over the death of his wife.

Dr Wells told the court Lockhart had suffered thoughts of self-harm and attempted to take his own life twice in 2004.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption The bodies of Janet Lockhart and her son Michael were discovered at their home in Bonnyrigg

He had spent three weeks in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, had been taking anti-depressant tablets, but after starting marathon running in 2005, had given up the tablets and had no thoughts of self-harming in recent years.

When interviewing Lockhart after the deaths of his wife and son, Dr Wells said he had told him that he had "snapped" after a row with Janet and strangled her.

He had sat on a couch next to her body for a while and then began to think of what would happen to Michael with his mother dead and his father in jail for her murder.

The court heard how Lockhart had said he had had no thoughts of killing Michael before attacking his wife. It was only after killing his wife that he decided to kill Michael and himself.

During the trial, the jury heard how Lockhart had returned home at 02:00 having consumed six pints of beer and a number of shorts.

His blood alcohol level was three times over the drink drive limit.

'Traumatic' investigation

His wife, Janet, was due to go to work at 04:00 and was concerned that he was in no fit state to look after Michael if he woke. There had been an argument and he strangled her.

He told the court: "I could not believe it happened. I didn't believe it was real."

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty to the murder of Janet Lockhart and a majority verdict of guilty to the murder of Michael.

Det Ch Insp Scott Cunningham, of Police Scotland, said: "In 22 years in the police service this is one of the most tragic, traumatic and heart breaking investigations I have been involved with.

"The unforeseen actions of Garry Lockhart are completely incomprehensible and only he knows why he took the lives of his wife and son.

"I acknowledge the verdict today and my thoughts first and foremost are with Janet and Michael's family.

"This has been devastating for the family and I want to pay tribute to them for their strength, courage and dignity shown.

"I also want to commend all the police officers, police staff, partner agencies and the local community for their professionalism and support throughout the most emotive circumstances."

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