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Family of missing Highbury woman Jane Harrison ‘elated’ as killer convicted 18 years after disappearance

15:25 30 January 2013

Kevin Doherty was convicted of the manslaughter of Jane Harrison

Kevin Doherty was convicted of the manslaughter of Jane Harrison

Archant

The sister of a mother who disappeared in the 1990s has spoken of her “elation” after her killer was finally brought to justice.

Claire Harrison said she never gave up hope that Jane Harrison’s former boyfriend would be found responsible for her death.

Jane, of Poet’s Road, Highbury, went missing in 1995 aged 32. Her married lover Kevin Doherty, now 57, was the last person to see her alive.

On Tuesday he was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 12 years at the Old Bailey, following a painstaking re-investigation which began in 2010.

Claire, 44, told the Gazette she was pleased, but lamented that their devoted mother Dillis Harrison of Petherton Road, Highbury, who stepped in to bring up Jane’s children, died without knowing what happened in 2010.

She said: “I would have liked a murder conviction, but I’m elated to have got this far. At last it confirms that he definitely killed her. But my poor mum went to her grave never knowing what happened to Jane. She is the reason the children are stable now – my mum brought them up.”

“It’s been horrendous, but we have never given up,” added Claire. “It makes us feel better that justice has been done, but we will never rest until we find her body.”

Claire said the family even sought the help of psychic Uri Geller, visiting his house in the hope he might shed light on the disappearance.

Jane’s body was never found and the conviction of Doherty, of Cherry Tree Rise, Buckhurst Hill, was based on circumstantial evidence, in particular doubts over his alibi which was based on sham phonecalls he made to himself but claimed were from her.

Doherty had told police he thought she had gone off with another man. The court heard that he was working as a warehouse manager at the time, often hired vans and had a “volatile” relationship with Ms Harrison.

Jane was last sighted on June 15, 1995, shopping with Doherty in Wood Green. The pair had booked flights to Florida the previous day.

They were together for three years after meeting at a nightclub, despite Doherty being married with three children.

They had a son together, aged one, while Jane had another son aged 14 from a previous relationship.

Claire added: “My sister was a devoted mother, a wonderful sister and a very beautiful and caring person. Her family came first and her children were everything to Jane. I could not have got through this without my extended family and all the support we have had and the police have been fantastic throughout. They have persevered with it for 18 years.”

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