Police describe ‘trauma’ of murder case

Garry Lockhart with his wife Janet, who he murdered along with their son Michael. Picture: comp
Garry Lockhart with his wife Janet, who he murdered along with their son Michael. Picture: comp
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POLICE investigating the Garry Lockhart murder case have described it as one of the most ‘traumatic’ in recent history.

The 33-year-old father-of-one murdered his wife and two-year-old son after a festive drinking session last year.

Lockhart, a funeral director from Bonnyrigg, will be sentenced on October 16 after a jury yesterday found him guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Cunningham, who led the investigation, said: “In 22 years in the police service this is one of the most tragic, 
traumatic and heartbreaking 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.”

Lockhart strangled his wife, Janet, 28, and smothered his son, Michael, in their home in South Chesters Lane on December 28, 2013.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder offered a plea of guilty to murder in respect of Janet Lockhart, but not guilty to his client murdering his son. He claimed Lockhart was suffering from diminished responsibility due to an abnormality of mind and that he would plead guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide. This was rejected.

Mr Cunningham said: “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.”

During the trial the jury heard how Lockhart had returned home at 2am after a night of heavy drinking. His blood alcohol level was three times the drink drive limit.

His wife was due to go to work at 4am and was concerned he was in no fit state to look after Michael. There had been an argument and he strangled her. After sitting beside her body, he went upstairs to the main bedroom.

He told the court: “I could not believe it happened. I didn’t believe it was real”.

He said he believed in the after-life and was worried about what would happen to Michael with his mother dead and father in jail, deciding the only solution was to kill his son and commit suicide.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Andrew Wells told the jury that Lockhart was not suffering from a mental disorder, yet his decision-making appeared to have been impaired and he could have been suffering an acute stress reaction due to his wife’s death.

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.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran paid tribute to Janet’s parents and Michael’s grandparents for the dignity they had shown throughout the case. He said: “It is absolutely plain they simply cannot understand what happened on the morning of December 28 last year and the dreadful events to their beloved daughter and grandson”.