The family of murdered school teacher Jane Longhurst (31)is calling for tighter regulation of online pornography following the sentencing of her murderer Graham Coutts yesterday in Lewes Crown Court.
Coutts (35), a voracious consumer of web sites devoted to snuff movies and necrophilia, was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 30 years. The Scottish-born part-time musician visited Web sites with names such as "necrobabes", "death by asphyxia" and "rape pleasure".
More than 800 pornographic images were found saved on Coutts' home computer – over three quarters of which showed acts of violence against women. The court also heard that Coutts had accessed violent images the day before Ms. Longhurst was murdered in March 2003.
After strangling Ms. Longhurst with a pair of tights, Coutts took her body to a storage unit, for which he had a pin number for out-of-hour-access. The security log showed that he had visited the corpse at least 10 times in the month before he finally disposed it in a marsh.
After the discovery of Ms. Longhurst's body, employees at the Big Yellow Storage company in Brighton informed the police that Coutts had hired the lockup shortly after her disapperance. When they opened the lockup, police found Ms. Longhurst's possessions as well as a blood-stained rope and a condom containing Coutts' semen.
Acting out fantasies
The prosecution suggested an “obvious parallel between the images he chose to access on his computer and the scene that confronted him at the storage location…..he acted out for real on the unfortunate Jane Longhurst the fantasies on his computer, the strangling, the killing and raping of her.”
In sentencing, Judge Richard Brown said: “By persisting in your denial and making her loved ones relive her last moments, and the unbelievable degradation of her body, you have shown not a jot of remorse.” Coutt’s had said Ms. Longhurst’s death was an accident, claiming it had occurred during consensual sex.
Outside Lewes Crown Court yesterday, Jane Longhurst’s mother, Liz Longhurst, said: “"Pressure should be put on Internet providers to close [these sites] down. It would be a memorial to Jane to prevent other lovely young women being harmed in this way."
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said the sites named in the case could not be prosecuted, as they were hosted outside the UK:
“Legislation over Internet content, comes under the jurisdiction of the country of source, therefore the IWF and UK Law Enforcement Agencies can only control material hosted in the UK. It is our view, that if the two websites cited in this specific case, were hosted in the UK that we would have referred these sites to the UK Police for further investigation under the Obscene Publications Act." ®