The Cover Up

This page is not intended to excuse any of Graham’s behaviour, but simply to gain insight into some of his decisions and actions.For 5 weeks, Graham covered up Ms Longhurst’s death. To save his own skin – right? Wrong. In fact, immediately after her death he picked up the telephone twice, and dialled 9-9…, but both times failed to complete the final 9. He then drove to Brighton police station, with the body now in the boot of the car. There he parked right outside, got out of the car with the intention of going inside to report her death. He stood outside for a time, but got back in the car and drove away. So what stopped him completing the 999 call or going back into the police station?

When Graham was 21 years old, his partner at the time fell pregnant to him. He was very happy and excited about this. However, whilst he was out of the country, with a band he was working with at that time, and expressly against his wishes, she terminated the pregnancy. This was a devastating blow for him and a decision that would haunt him and his then partner for many years. In fact, it played a large part in Graham’s subsequent lack of commitment to that relationship, which eventually broke down.

In 1998, when Graham was 30 years old, he had one of those rare “love at first sight” moments. She was extremely committed, supportive and loyal to him and helped him through two quite serious health scares.

Around 2001 they decided to start a family. She fell pregnant soon after. Sadly, this pregnancy abruptly ended with a miscarriage. They were both deeply upset by this. This was now the second pregnancy loss Graham had experienced. His fear of further loss may be partly why they had difficulty in conceiving again. After 2 years of trying they finally underwent fertility treatment, which resulted in twins.

A few days before Ms Longhurst’s death, Graham and his partner had the 8 week scan. This was very emotional, as for the first time they could see the heartbeats of their babies. Graham was thrilled, and looking forward to fatherhood. He wanted to tell everyone, but because of the previous miscarriage, his partner tempered his excitement with a dose of pragmatic caution.

So, scan forward just a few days later on 14th March 2003. Graham has the phone in his hand, with his finger hovering over that final 9 of his attempted 999 call. He is in a state of shock and panic. What was he thinking at this point?

“What will happen once the final 9 is dialled?….the flat will be swarming with paramedics…police…who knows what else?…what would happen once my girlfriend came home from work?….her happiness and joy with the pregnancy would be shattered…this would turn into shock and horror…what then?…only 8 weeks into the pregnancy….miscarriage!….two little coffins…this would destroy my girlfriend…..and destroy me….4 lost children.”

Irrational thoughts? Perhaps. But it is easy to judge and make assumptions from the comfort of our own lives, without just having someone suddenly and unexpectedly die on us. These thoughts only exacerbated his already panicked state.

The phone goes down. But, despite all of these possible scenarios flashing through his head, he picks up the phone again. He goes through the same process for a second time, 9-9…., but all roads lead to the same destination – two little coffins. Imagine the moral dilemma. Do the right thing and call 999, and chance the very high probability that by doing this you will kill your two unborn babies through miscarriage. Or do the wrong thing, and maybe, just maybe by buying some time, they will reach full term.

So what now? He calls his partner, partly just to hear her voice, but also to make sure she was not going to leave work early and stumble into the nightmare. He then realises that he was going to have to remove the body from the flat. So he drives to a local store and bought some tarpaulin to cover the body before moving into the boot of the car. Clearly there was no pre-planning top any of this. Ms Longhurst’s death was sudden, unexpected, and accidental.

At this point, Graham was thinking any further ahead than this. He did not know what he was going to do next. However, he drove East along the seafront, and without even consciously thinking about it he ended up standing outside Brighton police station. Imagine the conflict he must have been in –m all roads lead to the same destination ….., which is why he got back into the car and drove away. He did not know where he was driving to, or what he was going to do, but even at that early stage he must have known that by not reporting a sudden death, he was putting himself into a very vulnerable position. And boy, did the prosecution make the most of this vulnerability.

To save his own skin – right? Wrong. Had he tried to save himself he would have completed the 999 call, or gone into the police station, not covered up. Yes, his behaviour was disgraceful, but none of his actions were borne out of malice, but from human frailty and weakness. Anyone who knows Graham can attest to the fact that he has his flaws, many of them, but malice is not one of them. It was the fear of losing his children that drove him down this path. For Graham they were every bit as real as holding them in his arms. Ask yourself this, to what extreme s would you go to, to protect the lives of your own children? Would you give up your life? If your answer is yes, you may just understand the ever more desperate lengths he went to next.

Further detail will be added to this page, in the hope you will gain a deeper insight into Graham’s decisions and actions.

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