17 abril 2010

Miss World's Julia Morley and her live-in 'odd-job man' who beat his wife to death

By Stephen Wright
Last updated at 1:45 AM on 17th April 2010

As First Lady of the Miss World organisation, Julia Morley has raised millions for good causes.
And she clearly believes charity begins at home.
The 70-year-old widow is sharing her £10million mansion with a convicted wife killer who describes himself as her ' odd-job man'.
ulia Morley taking a walk in the park with wife-killer Grant 
'Long-standing friends': Julia Morley taking a walk in the park with wife-killer Grant Harris
Former gynaecologist Grant Harris, 63, moved into Mrs Morley's vast property in Dulwich, South-East London, after serving a jail sentence for battering his wife Jocelyn with a hammer.
A spokesman for Mrs Morley, whose husband Eric died ten years ago, described the pair as 'long- standing friends' and insisted they were not in any kind of relationship.
He said Harris and his two children had separate accommodation within the property and Mrs Morley's decision to allow them to stay there was an 'act of kindness'. She also gave evidence on his behalf during his 1998 court case.
The killer's maintenance work is 'part of his gratitude', he added.
It was in 1997, as 39-year-old former nurse Jocelyn Harris was preparing to divorce her 'skinflint' husband after 12 largely unhappy years of marriage, that he hit her head with a hammer at least seven times.
Despite the ferocity of the attack, she was still alive when Harris wrapped her in a bin liner and a sheet, carried her up to their first-floor bedroom and threw her out of the window on to the patio. She died of a fractured spine.
Her husband then stripped to the waist to clean bloodstains inside the £700,000 house in Beckenham, Kent, before calling the emergency services, telling them his wife had fallen from the window.
Julia Morley
Queen of Miss World: Mrs Morley with competition finalists
After hours of questioning by police he admitted killing her, saying he could not bear the shame of seeing his marriage and career achievements slipping away.
Harris was due to stand trial for murder but in March 1998 the Crown Prosecution Service accepted his plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and he was given a six-year jail sentence.
The Old Bailey heard that he earned £125,000 a year as a consultant at Lewisham and Guy's Hospitals, and had savings of £800,000. But he and his wife argued frequently over his meanness  -  a consequence of a deprived childhood.
One of his wife's birthdays was celebrated at McDonald's, where he insisted guests pay for their own food. Once, when she pleaded for a new fridge, he made inquiries about obtaining one second-hand from a hospital pathology department.
Six months before she died, Mrs Harris complained to friends that she had to save family allowance payments to buy decent Christmas presents for the children, then aged eight and 11.
Mrs Morley told the court that Harris could not cope with the prospect of losing his wife. 'He changed from a man who adored his family into a man totally distressed,' she said.
Harris was freed in June 2000 after serving barely two years of his six-year term. Five months later Mrs Morley's husband Eric died aged 82 and she succeeded him as chairman of the Miss World organisation.
In its 1970s and 1980s heyday, the beauty pageant used to attract British TV audiences of 27millionplus.. Although no longer broadcast on UK terrestrial channels, it remains hugely popular around the world, particularly in the Far East.
Grant Harris and wife
The Harrises at their wedding in 1985. He killed her 12 years later
Mrs Morley's work and charity commitments mean she is often overseas, but she still managed to spend some time with Harris over the Easter weekend, when they enjoyed a trip to a park in Clapham. This week at her mansion, Harris, who also shares the use of Mrs Morley's car, was asked if they were in a relationship.
'No, no, nothing like that,' he said. 'I do odd jobs for her. We don't live together. I have my own flat. I just come in and do things around here. At the moment I'm digging the garden. There's nothing going on. We've just known each other a very long time.'
In a statement, Mrs Morley's spokesman said she, her late husband and their family 'have been long-standing friends with Mr Harris and his family'.
He said that following Mrs Harris's death, 'Mrs Morley assumed a significant degree of responsibility for the Harris children who came to live in the Morley family home and attended schools nearby.
'At an agreed time, several months after Mr Harris's release from prison, the Morley family created a separate area of their property so that Mr Harris could stay with his children. This allowed the children to continue with their life and studies without further upheaval.
'The Morley family has continued to offer their support to Mr Harris and his children in their difficult family journey.
'Mrs Morley and Mr Harris do not live together. They are not and have never been a "couple".'

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