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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 September, 2004, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Longhurst case appeal to be heard
Jane Longhurst
Jane Longhurst was a special needs teacher and musician in Brighton
The man found guilty of murdering Brighton teacher Jane Longhurst has been given leave to appeal against his conviction and life sentence.

Graham Coutts, 36, of Waterloo Street, Hove, was convicted of murder at Lewes Crown Court in February and told he would must serve at least 30 years.

The jury ruled he strangled the teacher to satisfy an asphyxiation fantasy.

His solicitor lodged an appeal in March but the case will now be heard next year.

We've known about it for a while now and we're very matter of fact about it
Liz Longhurst, victim's mother

Miss Longhurst's family and boyfriend Malcolm Sentance had been warned there was a possibility the case could be brought before appeal judges.

Her mother Liz, from Reading, told the BBC she was not particularly worried as she knew it was something all prisoners had the right to do.

Coutts, a musician, took 31-year-old Miss Longhurst to his flat and strangled her with a pair of tights in March 2003.

Graham Coutts
The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict at Coutts's trial

The trial heard he had an obsession with strangulation and had looked at internet sites connected with the fetish.

He claimed in court the death was as a result of consensual sex which went wrong but the jury convicted him unanimously of murder.

Mrs Longhurst said she had been told her daughter's killer's appeal was likely to be heard early in 2005.

She told the BBC: "It's exactly what I expected, I've been led to believe by the police that he would seek leave to appeal.

"This is something that nearly all prisoners in the same situation will do.

"I personally feel fairly sanguine about it all.

"We've known about it for a while now and we're very matter of fact about it."

'Macabre' murderer lodges appeal
02 Mar 04  |  Southern Counties
Man guilty of teacher murder
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties
Phone call to a killer
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties

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