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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 17:21 GMT
Family's relief at murder verdict
Miss Longhurst's sister Sue Barnett, boyfriend Malcolm Sentance and mother Liz Longhurst
Miss Longhurst's family said they would miss a "caring, kind" woman
The family and partner of murdered teacher Jane Longhurst have spoken of their relief that her killer has been jailed.

Her mother, sister and partner Malcolm Sentance told of a "caring, kind and wonderful young woman" who they would have to learn to live without.

Part-time musician Graham Coutts, 35, was found guilty of the 31-year-old's murder on Wednesday and ordered to serve at least 30 years in jail.

Speaking after the verdict, Miss Longhurst's mother Liz Longhurst told of the family's suffering since the special needs teacher went missing in Brighton last March.

She said: "It has been absolutely terrible, but I have been supported by Jane's many friends and members of the family.

I am jubilant that Jane's killer has been brought to justice, but sad because I have lost my younger sister
Sister Sue Barnett

"The first five weeks were perhaps the worst part - when she was missing and we did not know whether she was alive or dead."

Miss Longhurst's sister Sue Barnett said the family had been living a "nightmare".

"It's difficult to put into words exactly how I am feeling," she said.

"I am jubilant that Jane's killer has been brought to justice, but sad because I have lost my younger sister.

"She had so much to give in life, I miss her every day."

Liz Longhurst, Jane Longhurst's mother
Mrs Longhurst said pornographic websites should be shut down

Ms Barnett said it was hard to hear the slurs on her sister's reputation made by Coutts in court.

"Jane was a caring, kind and wonderful young woman who would never hurt her family or Malcolm," she said.

"I knew from day one that something was very wrong because it was so out of character.

"We have been waiting for the day when the killer was put behind bars."

Miss Longhurst's boyfriend Malcolm Sentance said: "I am obviously pleased at the result but it does not bring Jane back.

"We have to get on with our lives without this lovely person and that is something we have to live with."

Mrs Longhurst, 72, called for pornographic internet sites of the kind Coutts visited to be shut down.

Sue Barnett, Jane Longhurst's sister
Miss Longhurst's sister said she missed her every day

She intends writing to MPs after hearing evidence about the websites in court.

"I think it is very difficult to close these sites down, but something has to be done because it is an absolute menace and I feel there must be other people who have such minds and may be a real danger to women," she said.

"It would be a fitting tribute to Jane if we could do something to control these sites - that would be just marvellous."

Coutts, originally from Leven, Fife, in Scotland, had claimed Miss Longhurst's death was an accident.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment after the jury decided he had killed the teacher for his own sexual gratification.

The BBC's Robert Hall
"The court heard that Coutts was a sexual fantasist"

Man guilty of teacher murder
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties
Phone call to a killer
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties

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