HMA v RITA HEYSTER

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Brailsford sentenced Rita Heyster to four years and six months imprisonment after she was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice in relation to the death of Carol Jarvis.

On sentencing Lord Brailsford made the following statement  in court:

You  were found guilty by a jury after a lengthy trial of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by repeatedly failing to notify the police of the death of Carol Jarvis, concealing the body of Carol Jarvis and thereafter attempting to flee from the scene of these matters. This conduct did have a practical, and pernicious, result in that the delay in discovering the body of Carol Jarvis caused deterioration in the condition of the body of that unfortunate lady and prevented ascertainment of the cause of her death. I have no doubt, having heard the evidence in the case, that the delay also occasioned acute distress to the children of Mrs Jarvis who were unaware of her whereabouts during this time.

This conduct plainly constitutes an attempt to defeat the ends of justice at the higher end of the scale of gravity of offences of this sort.

As is made clear from the social enquiry report you do not accept your involvement in this offence, despite the verdict of the jury. In mitigation I accept that you were of previous good character. I also accept that this conduct, and the relationship you had with Harry Jarvis, has caused you loss of contact with your own family and, it would seem, the loss of your home. I also accept that you were probably vulnerable when you met Harry Jarvis, that he was devious and manipulative, and that you were unduly and harmfully influenced by him. I also acknowledge, and accept the mitigatory value, of the fact that you have been assessed as of low risk of causing harm to others in the future.

I take all these factors into account in passing sentence of four years and six months imprisonment, backdated to the 13 July 2011.