KILLER dad Garry Lockhart was today starting a life sentence for the “wicked and unfathomable act” of murdering his wife and son.
The 33-year-old strangled his wife, Janet, at their family home in Bonnyrigg just after Christmas last year before suffocating their two-year-old boy, Michael, with a pillow.
Lockhart told police he “just snapped” on the night he carried out the murders. In a recorded interview, he told detectives he began arguing with Janet after returning home drunk at 2am.
She was due to go to work two hours later and accused her funeral director husband of not being in a fit enough state to look after their son.
In the interview, Lockhart said: “We were arguing. I don’t know for how long. I think she went past me and I grabbed her. I just snapped.”
Lockhart then hatched a plan to kill his son and take his own life – believing the family would be reunited in the afterlife’ – but hours after murdering Michael, he was found alive by police in a parked car in a lay-by on the A703.
He admitted murdering his wife, but stood trial after pleading not guilty to murdering their son, following the Crown’s refusal to accept Lockhart’s claims he had committed culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh found him guilty and yesterday Judge Lady Wise said he would serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.
“Your actions have devastated your family and in particular your parents-in-law, who have lost a precious daughter and a grandson to whom they were devoted,” she said. “Nothing can be said that will alleviate in any way the incalculable loss that they and all those who knew and loved Janet and Michael have suffered. To murder a vulnerable child who trusted and depended on you was a particularly wicked, unfathomable act.”
The Lockharts’ home in South Chesters Lane – to which police forced entry to find the victims on December 28 – remains boarded up, while neighbours are reluctant to discuss the tragic events. One resident described Lockhart as a “good neighbour”, and added: “There was no indication of any problems until that night.”
During his trial, the killer told how he played with Michael “as usual” before smothering him with a pillow.
He said: “I talked to him and played with him, just the usual, and then I put the pillow over him, he struggled and then he passed out.” He explained he believed in reincarnation and the afterlife and was worried about what would happen to Michael with his mother dead and his father in jail so decided the only solution was to kill his son and then commit suicide.
“I was concerned about Michael growing up with one parent in jail and one parent dead. The only way I could see out of it was if all three of us went,” Lockhart told the jury.
Detective Chief Inspector Scott Cunningham, from the investigation team, described the case as “heartbreaking” .
“My thoughts are first and foremost with Janet and Michael’s family,” he said. “No sentence can alleviate their pain and I would like to pay tribute to them for their immense dignity and strength throughout the investigation and trial.”
YouTube diary of an ordinary father
IT appears to be the online diary of an ordinary man – a normal husband and father.
Videos posted by the killer on YouTube show a family man strumming on his guitar, skydiving in New Zealand and, most heartbreakingly of all, playing happily on the carpet with the son he would smother.
In one video, Michael Lockhart is seen giggling as he tries to reach towards a pet rabbit while his father playfully dangles him just out of reach of the pet.
A woman’s laughter is heard in the background, possibly that of the wife he would go on to strangle after an all-night drinking binge.
The videos show a Rangers supporter who liked family holidays to Malta and traditional Scottish music.
The 33-year-old funeral director also had musical ambitions, writing songs with titles such as Villain, Troubled Soul and Tell Me That You Love Me Too.
In one post, Lockhart boasts that this is his tenth song, adding: “Think it’s my favourite one!! Like how the words go.”
But his version of Coldplay’s hit single Yellow failed to strike a chord, drumming up only 74 views in five years.His cover of Clocks by the same band attracted more interest, prompting one comment: “I hope you rot to bits in hell, what you did to your wife and son was disgusting and upsetting for all of us to watch. RIP Your good wife and son.”