Page last updated at 17:59 GMT, Tuesday, 12 June 2007 18:59 UK

Man 'murdered out of perversion'

Jane Longhurst
Jane Longhurst was a special needs teacher and musician in Brighton

A musician killed a Brighton teacher to satisfy an interest in strangulation and violence towards women, jurors at the Old Bailey have heard.

Graham Coutts, 39, denies the murder in March 2003 of Jane Longhurst, 31, who was originally from Reading, Berkshire.

Jurors have been told that the case is a retrial.

Prosecuting, Philip Katz QC said Mr Coutts, of Hove, Sussex, had a "very long-standing and perverted sexual interest in violence to women".

He said: "Graham Coutts killed Jane Longhurst and he did it in order to satisfy a very long-standing and perverted sexual interest in violence to women and in particular the killing of women by strangulation."

Mr Coutts has pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming that the special needs teacher's death was an accident.

'Body in storage unit'

Warning jurors they were likely to find parts of the case extremely unpleasant, Mr Katz told them Mr Coutts "did not immediately dispose of the body".

The lawyer claimed Mr Coutts kept it for about 11 days "possibly somewhere in the same house where he was living with his then-partner".

Mr Coutts then moved the body to a storage unit in Brighton, hired in a false name, and kept it there for almost a month, visiting "regularly every few days" and where staff began to be concerned about the smell, jurors were told.

The jury heard Mr Coutts then decided to move the body to secluded woods - Wiggonholt Common near Pulborough - where he set fire to it, but the blaze was seen by a passing driver.

Mr Katz claimed Mr Coutts repeatedly misled police and said: "He lied over and over and over again about not knowing where she was."

Graham Coutts and Jane Longhurst
Jane Longhurst was a special needs teacher and musician in Brighton

He told the court Mr Coutts had been looking at "horrific" images on pornography websites the day before Miss Longhurst died.

And Mr Coutts told a psychiatrist he had been having "sexually arousing" thoughts about murdering women since the age of 15, Mr Katz said.

Mr Coutts trained to become a counsellor, but his behaviour during role-play disturbed other people taking part when he talked about websites showing the killing of women, jurors heard.

Jurors were told Mr Coutts had non-consensual sex with Miss Longhurst on the day of her death and the couple were not involved in a relationship.

Miss Longhurst's partner, Malcolm Sentance, said the pair had known each other for four years.

He said: "We were going to spend the rest of our lives together. We were having a lot of fun. We were in a great relationship.

"She was looking forward to having a family. She loved her job.

"We were having a fantastic life. Her mood was of optimism and happiness."

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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The retrial of a man accused of killing a teacher begins

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