Violent Porn Murderer Wins Appeal, Gets New Trial

Violent Porn Murderer Wins Appeal, Gets New Trial
Michael Hayes
LONDON — An English appeals court has quashed the conviction of Graham Coutts, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 after jurors found him guilty of what prosecutors called a murder inspired by violent porn.

At the original trial, jurors heard evidence that Coutts had murdered Jane Longhurst, a schoolteacher from Brighton, after viewing violent pornography.

A search and seizure of Coutts’ home immediately following the murder uncovered hundreds of images of asphyxia and necrophilia that Coutts had downloaded from the Internet before he strangled Longhurst with pantyhose.

According to reports, Coutts hid the victim's body for a month before setting fire to it. Shortly after disposing of the body, Coutts reportedly searched the Internet for the same violent content.

Three appellate judges tossed Coutts’ conviction, agreeing with his attorneys that jurors should have been given the option of convicting him of manslaughter. At trial, his lawyers had argued that Longhurst’s death was the result of an accident during consensual sex. However, Coutts did testify that he had battled a seven-year addiction to online pornography.

Although he can apply for bail, Coutts remains in custody pending a new trial.

Following the murder, which sparked a nationwide outcry, the victim’s mother, Liz Longhurst, organized a crusade to ban violent pornography from the country.

In August, British lawmakers announced plans for a new law that would make possession of violent pornography punishable by up to three years in prison.