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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 20:58 GMT
Partners called in teacher trial
Jane Longhurst
Jane Longhurst's body was found five weeks after she disappeared
Two former boyfriends of a teacher killed in a "bizarre and macabre sexual fantasy" have told a court they had "normal" relationships with her.

Graham Coutts, 35, is alleged to have strangled Jane Longhurst and then stored her body in a cardboard box after viewing a number of websites dedicated to sexual violence against women.

It is alleged he killed the 31-year-old at his Brighton flat.

Her burning body was found on 19 April 2003, five weeks after she disappeared.

'Too upsetting'

Lewes Crown Court heard on Wednesday from Miss Longhurst's former boyfriend Lincoln Abbotts.

He told the jury they had a "normal" sex life and had never discussed asphyxia or strangulation.

In a written statement another ex-boyfriend, Michael Downe, said they also had a normal sexual relationship and had never spoken of bondage.

The court also heard how Mr Coutts broke down in tears when questioned about the death of the special needs teacher by police.

Lincoln Abbotts
Lincoln Abbotts gave evidence at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday
The part-time salesman and musician was said to have told detectives "it's too upsetting".

When asked directly if he killed Jane Longhurst, he said: "I don't want to talk about it."

For much of the police interview he sat in silence failing to answer questions, the court was told.

Lewes Crown Court heard from computer crime investigator David Reed who said he found more than 5,000 images on two computers taken from Mr Coutts' home.

Most of the images were of ordinary pornography, but 473 showed women being strangled and asphyxiated, while six of them were of what appeared to be dead women, he said.

Mr Coutts, of Waterloo Street, Hove, denies murder.

The trial continues.

Murder accused 'gave vague answers'
20 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Jury visits 'body storage spot'
19 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Defendant 'wanted to choke lovers'
15 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Teacher murder was 'macabre sex act'
14 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Teacher's family arrive for trial
14 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties

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