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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Teacher killer 'could be retried'
Graham Coutts
Musician Graham Coutts kept Jane Longhurst's dead body in storage
The man convicted of murdering Jane Longhurst has been allowed to challenge a point of law and could be retried.

Graham Coutts, 36, of Waterloo Street, Hove, Sussex, originally from Fife, is serving a 26-year jail term after being found guilty of strangling the teacher.

The point of law relates to whether the jury should have had an alternative verdict of manslaughter to consider.

No date has been set for the hearing at the House of Lords, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Head of trials Gary Perry said: "He has been granted leave to take his codified question to the House of Lords.

"One possible outcome is that he will be granted a retrial."

Body found on common

In January, appeal judges rejected an appeal by Coutts against his conviction, but allowed his appeal against the length of his sentence.

The 30-year minimum term imposed by the trial judge was reduced to 26 years.

Coutts, who denied murder, was accused of strangling Miss Longhurst to fulfil a "bizarre and macabre" sexual fantasy.

The musician was accused of keeping the 31-year-old woman's body in a box in his shed for 11 days before moving it to a storage unit in Brighton for a further two weeks.

Miss Longhurst's body was found on Wiggonholt Common, near Pulborough, West Sussex, on 19 April, 2003.

The special needs teacher, who was 31 when she was killed, was originally from Reading, Berkshire.

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21 Jan 05 |  Southern Counties
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16 Dec 04 |  Southern Counties
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15 Dec 04 |  Southern Counties

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