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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 16:13 GMT
Jury visits 'body storage spot'
Graham Coutts
Graham Coutts denies murdering the special needs teacher

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a teacher to fulfil a sexual fantasy, has visited the storage company where her body was allegedly kept.

Jurors visited the Big Yellow Storage Company in Coombe Road, Brighton, where the prosecution claims Graham Coutts stored the body of Jane Longhurst after he strangled her.

It is alleged Mr Coutts took the 31-year-old's body in a cardboard box to the unit and then proceeded to visit it on numerous occasions.

The unit where it is claimed Miss Longhurst was kept is currently unusable, so the jury was shown a similar one.

Mr Coutts, 35, of Waterloo Street, Hove, denies murdering Miss Longhurst between 14 March and 20 April, 2003.

'Overpowered or forced'

On Monday, Lewes Crown Court was also given a demonstration, by forensic scientist Rodger Ide, of a how a pair of tights may have been tied around Miss Longhurst's neck.

When asked by the defence whether there had been any cooperation between the two parties, he said: "No. It may be that the victim was intimidated, overpowered or forced."

Mr Coutts, a part-time musician, is accused of killing the special needs teacher after she phoned his home to speak to his girlfriend, Lisa Stephens.

Big Yellow Storage Company logo
Mr Coutts is alleged to have rented a unit under a false name

Lewes Crown Court has heard that Mr Coutts had a "bizarre and macabre" fascination with strangled women.

It is alleged he kept the body of Miss Longhurst for 11 days before taking it to the Big Yellow Storage Company where he rented the unit under the false name of Paul Kelly.

Mr Coutts was then filmed on CCTV visiting the building 10 times, the court has been told.

He was also filmed removing a box on 18 April, the day before the burning remains of Miss Longhurst were found at Wiggonholt Common in West Sussex.

When the storage unit was searched, police found some of Miss Longhurst's belongings and a petrol can.

Mr Coutts was also filmed at a petrol station in Hove buying a petrol can 45 minutes before the body was found.

The trial continues.

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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