A Salford prisoner drew up a ‘price list’ of ways to harm his ex-wife during a plot behind bars to have her murdered for up to £50,000, a court heard today.
Andrew McGarry, 39, had already been locked away for ramming a car into his matrimonial home and then setting it on fire – but had still decided to wage a ‘reign of terror’ upon Heather, 28, it was claimed.
Whilst serving his sentence, the father of three, from Horwich, near Bolton, approached two inmates with a list of payouts for varying degrees of attacks which could be carried out on his former wife and their next door neighbour – made to look like a burglary.
They included £100 for causing damage to the windows at both addressees, £500 for setting fire to number the matrimonial home, and even £8,000 for killing Heather, a jury was told.
There was a further £1,400 promised if Andrea was seriously injured or killed in the fire.
One of McGarry’s lists read: ‘If you get Heather herself £8,000 and if you get Andrea at 170 £1,400,” claiming he had the money in a trust fund and said the fee would increase to £50,000 if both were killed along with his children, it was said.
He also gave out detailed plans of the house, showing the layout of the rooms, the location of valuable property and even the alarm code.
Police were called in after one of the inmates handed over details of McGarry’s plans to guards at Forest Bank Jail in Salford.
Bolton Crown Court was told McGarry was serving a ”very long prison sentence” after ploughing his Vauxhall Zafira into his £120,000 end-terraced house after the breakdown of his marriage.
He had married Heather in August 2006 and the couple had three children Lewis,8, Lacey, 6, and Elliott, 4, but she described him as “a Jekyll and Hyde type personality” in the course of their marriage.
The court heard there was domestic violence by him and she was granted a non molestation order on June 14 2012 for one year – a form of a restraining order.
She also filed for divorce in July 2012 and on July 24 2012 dramatic CCTV pictures from cameras – installed by McGarry himself and which played to the jury – captured the moment the blue hatchback clattered into the front garden and then into the house before the vehicle burst into flames.
Neil Fryman prosecuting said just a month after McGarry was sentenced in February 2013 he befriended fellow inmate James Plaice and he began regaling the reasons why he had been sent to jail.
But after a few weeks he began asking if he knew anybody who would be willing to ”do damage” to his house where his wife was still living.
Mr Fryman said: ”He explained he wanted damage caused at the windows of the property in order to force her out. Not content with what done, he wanted further damage. He offered to pay James Plaice cash if he arranged someone on the outside to do it. James Plaice was provided with the address and played along with this and said would carry out when he had no intention of doing so.
“Some days later they spoke again and McGarry seemingly accepted damage had been done and gave James Plaice some tobacco in payment. As the pair began to chat more frequently the subject of his wife came up. He told James Plaice he now wanted someone to break into the house and steal items of property and then to set the house on fire.
“He told James Plaice if he couldn’t have the house then nobody could. he went see him in his cell and handed him detailed plans of the house, showing the layout of the house and the location of valuable property and coloured pictures of his house retained from the court case.
“He told James Plaice he would pay him about £2,000 if he arranged for the house to be set on fire. He went on to explain that items of property could be stolen as payment.
He continued: “’He provided James Plaice with details of his alarm code and code for the safe. James Plaice asked McGarry if his wife would be at the address. McGarry said he wasn’t bothered if his wife was in the property if it set on fire. Though he did tell of specific days his children would not be there.
“James Plaice played along saying he wanted a Playstation console. James Plaice became increasingly concerned that he was intent in getting someone to set fire to the house and getting his wife harmed. He played along but realised McGarry’s wife was in real danger.”
Plaice later told another inmate Colin Brady about the plot and handed him the plans and paperwork. Brady later approached McGarry, asked him what he wanted to get the reply: ‘a reign of terror on both my ex-wife and her next door neighbour’.
Mr Fryman added: ”He said to Colin Brady that he wanted his ex-wife dead and wasn’t bothered how it was done or who got in there. Colin Brady led him to believe that he would sort it out and carry out the plans. He asked him to write down what he wanted doing.
”He wrote down addresses and a list of what he wanted doing and the price he would pay him. £100 for causing damage to the windows at both addressees. £500 for setting fire to number 168 (family house). £8,000 for killing Heather. £1,400 to ensure that Andrea was seriously injured or killed in the fire.
“Colin Brady then took possession of the piece of paper and then told him that he would get things sorted out, although he had no intention of doing so. Colin Brady approached a prison officer because he was so concerned about actions and threats. As a result police were called in.
”Colin Brady handed to the police the plans and paperwork along with the list of prices that he had received. ‘If you get heather herself £8,000 and if you get Andrea at 170 £1,400.’ The prosecution say these were very detailed plans and when one compares and contrasts to 24th July they are very determined plans where the defendant meant business.”
As officers investigated McGarry continued to approach Colin Brady and last March approached him saying it was coming up to the first anniversary of the day Heather’s parents went to police to complain about him.
Mr Fryman said: ”He said the date was May 31 and as a result he wanted Heather’s parents’ house damaging and their cars setting alight.
“He handed to Colin Brady a piece of paper with Heather’s parents’ address in Rochdale and a hand drawn map. McGarry told Colin Brady that he now wanted as many windows as possible breaking at heather’s house and drew a sketch.
“On April 3 McGarry approached Colin Brady and informed him that he now just wanted Heather, his children and Heather’s neighbour all dead and wanted someone to arrange the fire. He asked to arrange a fire at Heather’s address as soon as he could and said he would pay him an increased amount of £50,000 and would be able to pay him because he had a trust fund from his father in excess of that amount.”
McGarry was transferred from Forest Bank to Wymott prison on April 4. McGarry who ran his own design and architect practise denies two charges of soliciting murder and three charges of encouraging or assisting the commission of criminal offences.
The trial continues.
Story via Cavendish Press.
Image courtesy of Public15, with thanks.