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Lords win for murder rap Scot.

A SCOTS musician yesterday won his House of Lords appeal against his conviction for the murder of a schoolteacher.

Five law lords agreed that jurors should have been offered the possibility of bringing in a manslaughter verdict in the case of Graham Coutts.

They remitted the matter back to the Court of Appeal, who last year dismissed Coutts's case, to "invite that court to quash the conviction".

Lord Bingham said: "It may also deal with any application for a retrial which may be made, the appellant (Coutts) remaining in custody meanwhile."

Coutts, 36, of Hove, Sussex, but originally from Leven, Fife, strangled 31-year-old special needs teacher Jane Longhurst with a pair of tights in March 2003.

His trial heard he kept her body in a storage unit for weeks before it was found badly burned on Wiggonholt Common, near Pulborough, Sussex.

Lewes Crown Court heard he admitted he had been there when the teacher died. But he denied murder, saying her death was an accident during consensual sex.

Appeal judges ruled his murder conviction was safe but cut his 30-year minimum jail term to 26 years.

However, the court said his case raised issues of "general public importance" fit for consideration by the Lords, who announced their decision yesterday.

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APPEAL: Graham Coutts
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 20, 2006
Words:214
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