17th August 2001
A double murderer was sentenced for his crime
Derek Harvey was convicted of double murder by 12 Jurats in a Guernsey court on 17 August 2001. His victims were his wife, Anne-Marie Harvey, whom he strangled, and his 21-month-old daughter, Justice Harvey, whom he smothered.
He had been under the influence of drugs at the time, having taken six teaspoons of Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and thus pleaded diminished responsibility. Harvey claimed to have no recollection of what had happened after taking the drugs, but became aware the following morning that he was at his estranged partner’s home, and that she and his daughter were dead. He tried to kill himself and, when that didn’t work, expressed genuine remorse for what he had done.
The Bailiff later wrote,
The basis of the psychiatric evidence in support of Mr Harvey’s plea of diminished responsibility centred around his dysthymia a form of depressive illness. It appears that the Defendant was depressed at the failure of his marriage and the possible loosening of his links with his daughter Justice to whom he claims to have been very attached.
According to the High Court’s archived judgement,
Dr Fernando the consultant pathologist was called. The bodies of the mother and daughter were found laid out on the bed. The pathologist did not think this was the place where they had actually been strangled. Instead he suggested that the bodies had been put there after death. In his opinion, from his observations of the injuries to the wife, considerable force had been used in strangling her.
Transfer to the mainland
Harvey was transferred to the mainland to serve his sentence. On 30 April six years later, the High Court set his minimum term of imprisonment at 18 years. The Bailiff of Guernsey, Sir de Vic Carey, had recommended a minimum tariff of 15 years.
The suggested 15-year term was lower than the High Court had expected. However it noted that the Bailiff had taken Harvey’s remorse into consideration when making his suggestion.