Until we add more detail of the evidence presented at Graham’s two trials, an overview of his case can be found at Wikipedia. Follow this link –
However, there are a number of inaccuracies:
“He had first hidden the body in a shed, then in an empty flat”
At Graham’s first trial, it was claimed by the prosecution that the body was hidden for a time in the flat upstairs from Graham. This was allegedly to give Graham, in the words of the prosecution QC, “unfettered access” to the body. Part of their strategy to dehumanise Graham was to insinuate that there had been acts of necrophilia. No evidence was presented to support that either the body had been in the empty flat, or that there had been post-mortem sexual activity of any kind. In fact, there is much evidence to contradict the prosecution’s hypothesis.
By the time of Graham’s retrial the prosecution were no longer alleging that the body had been in the empty flat, and they had become far less histrionic with their hypothesis
“Jane’s body was never hidden in the empty flat upstairs, and there was no sex, or sexual activity of any kind, after she had died.” (Graham Coutts, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
“and finally in a storage centre, where he had visited it nine times in a three-week period.”
In fact, between the dates of 25th March 2003 – 19th April 2003, Graham went to the storage centre 13 times on 11 separate days.
“My reasons for going to the storage centre were not of a sexual nature. I derived no pleasure or sexual gratification during, or as a result of, these visits.” (Graham Coutts,, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
“Coutts confessed to a long-standing neck fetish and obsession with strangulation”
In fact, it was the prosecution that claimed Graham had an obsession with strangulation. Graham had practised
Breath Control Play (BCP) around 200 times over 14 years, with 5 different partners. That averages 1.9 times per month. This is not an obsession. His use of the Internet to visit erotic-asphyxia themed sites, at the time of Ms Longhurst’s death, was around 1-2 times per week, totalling about 2-3 hours. That is approximately 1.5% of Graham’s time spent on these sites. This is not an obsession.
“I am not, or ever have been, obsessed with strangulation. My interests related to consensual BCP.” (Graham Coutts, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
- “(He) sought the help of a psychiatrist three years before the killing.”
Regarding Graham’s BCP interest, he had seen a psychiatrist in 1991, 11 years prior to Ms Longhurst’s death.
- “he started to access violent pornography on the Internet (especially simulated strangulation, rape and necrophilia).”
In both of Graham’s trials the prosecution attempted to support their necrophilia hypothesis by using one
photo, from one photostory, from a site that would be best described as fictional erotic-horror. Under this final
photo there is a narrative text which implies some form of post-mortem sexual activity was going to take place. The photostory ends before this implied activity occurs.
This oblique reference to necrophilia was the only picture that the prosecution presented at Graham’s trials to support their hypothesis. This is not credible evidence.
“I have never been to a necrophilia web site, and I am not, or ever have been, sexually aroused by the thought of necrophilia.” (Graham Coutts, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
- “the behaviour preceded the exposure to such pornography by about five years.”
Graham’s interest in BCP started when he was about 15 years old (1983). He became active with his first
BCP partner when he was 21 years old (1989) His Internet use started around the age of 27 (1995/6). Ms Longhurst died in 2003.
Graham’s interest in BCP preceded his Internet use by about 12 years, and His Internet use preceded Ms Longhurst’s death by over 7 years. The prosecution presented no expert evidence to support their claims of a casual link between Graham’s Internet use and Ms Longhurst’s death.
- “Prosecution witnesses testified that Ms Longhurst was in a stable relationship with her long term partner and that she and her partner were happy together.”
Evidence was given at both trials of their relationship having problems.
- “by Coutts’ possession of this material the prosecution has shown that he enjoyed erotic thoughts of killing women through violent strangulation.”
This is a weak argument. We have to look a little closer at the material the prosecution presented at
Graham’s trials, and the meaning we should infer from this. We can broadly simplify this material into 3 main categories:
- Pictures Graham had purposely saved to his computer’s hard drive.
- Pictures and thumbnails that were not of interest to Graham, but were automatically saved by the computer to its Internet cache. This happens to every web page that is opened to aid the speed of download should this page be opened at a later date.
- Pictures and thumbnails from pages that were ‘pop-ups’. These are pages which Graham did not open himself, but invasively popped-up on his computer. These pictures and thumbnails would also be automatically saved in the computer’s Internet cache.
Of course, the prosecution did not draw the jury’s attention to these differences so they could strengthen
their argument, which in simple terms was: ‘if it is on his computer, he must get sexually aroused by the thoughts of it’.
Whilst Graham has been to ma y erotic-asphyxia/horror themed sites, his sexual interests are specific and revolve around his BCP and neck fetish interests. He would only save a small percentage of pictures from these sites, and sometimes no pictures at all would be saved. It is only from the pictures he saved that any meaningful insight can be gained into his “erotic thoughts”.
Therefore, the claim that he had “thoughts of killing women through violent strangulation” by reason of his computer containing this type of material was, and remains, an assumptive argument. If you are in any doubt, take a look at your own Internet cache and ask yourself if you enjoy erotic thoughts about whatever the content of these pictures are.
Further, even if the prosecution had miraculously proved their claim, it still does not follow that Ms Longhurst’s death was from violent strangulation. See ‘Evidence’
“I do not have, or ever have had, erotic thoughts of killing women” (Graham Coutts, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
- “Coutts said he had murderous thoughts about women since he was 15.”
At Graham’s retrial, it was claimed by the psychiatrist he saw in 1991 that he had murderous thoughts about
women since he was 15. The word “murderous” was used by the psychiatrist, not Graham. Further, this was an incorrect interpretation of the recurrent dreams Graham was having at that time, which invariably involved some form of erotic asphyxia.
At Graham’s retrial it was established that this “psychiatrist” had only been a trainee at the time, and went on to fail his exams. He left soon after, under circumstances he refused to divulge to the court. This is not a credible witness, and by extension not credible evidence.
“I have never used the word ‘murderous’ to describe my erotic thoughts and dreams of BCP, which were always consensual and never involved death or murder.” (Graham Coutts, HMP Frankland, 30th December 2011).
The Wikipedia page concludes with Graham’s retrial. See ‘Chronology’ for an update on the progress of his case.