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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 10:55 GMT
'My daughter's killer cannot win'
By Malcolm Prior
BBC News, Berkshire

Liz Longhurst
Mrs Longhurst hopes action will be taken on internet porn
When Liz Longhurst's daughter died at the hands of a porn-obsessed killer, her life changed forever.

But hers is not a tale of a spirit broken by the violent murder of a loved-one.

Instead, the traumatic events of March 2003 drove the determined 74-year-old to lead a high-profile campaign to ban the kind of internet images that fuelled Miss Longhurst's killer.

On Wednesday, the campaign sees a petition of more than 50,000 signatures presented to the House of Commons, with cross-party support for its call for tighter legislation.

I have kept on because I am not letting Graham Coutts win... If I were to go to pieces, who has won?
Liz Longhurst

The success of the campaign - launched following Graham Coutts' conviction for murder in February 2004 - is a testament to the deep reserve of strength Mrs Longhurst has drawn on over the past 18 months.

Meeting Mrs Longhurst, you pick up on that determination immediately, tempered by a warm, friendly - somewhat grandmotherly - manner.

But it is a strength she is naturally modest about.

"I'm not sure that I do have such a great reserve of strength. I have always been really determined and bloody-minded but in the end I have always given way.

Graham Coutts
Coutts was obsessed with violent porn sites
"Even with this, I think I could have been pushed aside if it were not for the fact that I feel most people are in favour of this. I think there's a huge feeling about it all," Mrs Longhurst, from Reading, Berkshire, said.

It is a rising feeling that the government has been unable to ignore. The Home Office is now consulting on whether new laws are needed to ban the possession of extreme internet pornography.

It is one way of getting round the fact that UK law could not affect the foreign websites where some of the harder content can be found.

The police are among those who have welcomed new proposals, saying that currently opportunities for prosecution only exist when links to such sites are found in this country.

Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West, has been at the head of political support for the move and has worked closely with Mrs Longhurst. He told the BBC News website: "Liz has shown huge courage and tremendous resolve.

"I believe if we do change the law it will be a wonderful memorial to Jane Longhurst."

Jane Longhurst
Jane Longhurst was a special needs teacher and musician in Brighton
Mrs Longhurst herself said her petition has become a strong "support document" for future Home Office plans.

But it represents so much more for the former secretary with a keen religious conviction.

She said the campaign has acted as "therapy" for her, keeping her strong in the face of her daughter's death.

Mrs Longhurst, who has given her daughter's music and instruments to a trust for young musicians in Berkshire, said: "People have asked how I can still believe in God after Jane's death but it never tested my belief.

"It was just what happened. Some people just draw a short straw in life and I have drawn that short straw.

"A lot of people's lives have been brutally traumatised by this and perhaps my time may come.

"But I have kept on because I am not letting Graham Coutts win, really that's it.

"I do not want him to win and if I were to go to pieces, who has won?"

Anti-porn petition given to MPs
23 Nov 05 |  England
Relatives back report on violence
18 Nov 05 |  Berkshire
Porn law hopes for Jane's mother
15 Aug 05 |  Berkshire
Teacher killer 'could be retried'
28 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties

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