Jury considers Longley murder verdict

Last updated 07:51 19/05/2012
Emily Longley and her jeweller boyfriend, Elliot Turner
COUPLE: Emily Longley pictured with her boyfriend Elliot Turner.

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It will be a weekend like no other for the group of 12 people in Britain whose job is to consider whether Elliot Turner murdered Emily Longley.

The group of 11 men and one woman have spent 19 days listening to evidence from a number of people, including murder accused Turner and his parents Anita and Leigh, who have both been accused of perverting the course of justice.

The prosecution has alleged that Turner killed 17-year-old Longley in a jealous rage on the night of May 6-7 last year and his parents helped cover it up.

Turner denies the allegations.

The 20-year-old jeweller's son has told the court how the couple fought the night before Longley was found dead.

He grabbed her by the neck for several seconds, left the room and wrote a note to his mother and then returned to his bedroom and fell asleep next to Longley, Turner told the court.

He woke up. She didn't.

Now the jury must decide if Turner is guilty.

They began their deliberations overnight (NZ time) before they were sent home for the weekend.

They will meet again on Monday to continue their deliberations.

Justice Linda Dobbs has told them they must reach a unanimous verdict, but that could change depending what course their deliberations take, Britain's Daily Echo reported.

Dobbs said the jury had to put aside any prejudice or sympathy when reviewing the case.

She said it was up to the prosecution to prove that Turner was not acting in self defence and the jury had to discern whether the force used by Turner was reasonable.

''Has the prosecution made you sure that Elliot Turner killed Emily Longley?''. If the answer was no, then Turner was not guilty.

She told them if they believed he had acted unlawfully then the question was whether he intended to kill her or cause serious bodily harm.

If they answer was yes, then he was guilty of murder. If no, then Turner was guilty of manslaughter.

Longley was born in Britain but lived in New Zealand from the age of nine. She had returned to Britain to live with her grandparents and to study when she met Turner.

WHAT THE JURY HAS HEARD

Winchester Crown Court has heard evidence linking Turner to the murder of the aspiring model, who he had been in a relationship with, and how his parents helped cover it up.

But the three accused have denied most of the charges against them. Turner denies a charge of murder and perverting the course of justice, but has admitted to attempting to persuade his mother, Anita Turner, to change her version of events.
Anita and Leigh both deny perverting the course of justice.

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The jury was shown footage early on in the trial which showed Longley on her last night.

She was seen arriving at a café with friends, with Turner arriving later on in the night.

Texts from Longley's friends said Turner had a "hissy fit" and tried to punch her, before she eventually walked out of the cafe alone.

The footage shows Turner again followed her out of the bar, where he was reportedly heard to have shouted "she's ruined my life, she's twisted my heart".

Later on Turner said "I try so hard to get back with her. She's going down tonight," a mutual friend of Longley and Turner's Oliver George told the court.

George said there was an "awkward" atmosphere between the pair that night and that Turner had told Longley she looked like a "whore".

Friends said the pair had a volatile relationship, with Turner telling his girlfriend he was going to kill her on multiple occasions. Turner admitted to saying that 10 to 15 times, but told the court he didn't mean it "literally".

THE PROSECUTION AND TURNER

Turner's lawyer and the prosecution both used a colourful vocabulary when they described the murder accused - and both used the word "possessive".

Jurors have heard that Turner had become increasingly suspicious that Longley had been having affairs during their four month relationship. The prosecution alleges that he was so jealous and furious with the teenager that he snapped, and strangled her on the night of May 6 last year.

The court heard pathologists who examined Longley's body found injuries consistent with asphyxiation, Turner had scratches on his arm and Longley had his DNA under her fingertips.

Turner's lawyer Anthony Donne, QC, said there was plenty of evidence that Longley was well capable of striking back.
Prosecutors told the court how Turner had his bags packed and his passport was in his pocket the day he was arrested.
Secret police recordings from the Turners' home recorded his father Leigh Turner whispering about the contents of a letter he later admitted in a police interview to destroying.

Leigh Turner said: "He strangled her to shut her up, to stop her screaming, making so much noise and then he'd realised he'd done something terribly wrong and he should have phoned the ambulance to save her but he didn't because he was scared.
"He strangled her, he stopped her breathing. That's what it said in the letter," Leigh was heard saying.

On another day Elliot Turner spoke of going "nuts" and "psycho". He added: "A side of me I never imagined. I was actually thinking I was insane, just like violent thoughts in my head for weeks."

The police also found material on his laptop which showed Turner had searched 'death by strangulation' and 'how to get off innocent'.

"They are going to link the marks on her neck with death by strangulation, with the suicide note... life sentence... boom," Turner was heard to say.

THE ACCUSED'S PARENTS

Although police say a secret recording of the Turner home recorded Leigh Turner, 54, saying a letter his son wrote attested to him murdering Longley, Leigh told the court he never read it.

He did tell the court, however, that he found the note and ripped it up, but did not believe that he was perverting the course of justice in doing so.

"I just thought the worse. I didn't know what it was. It might have said Elliot might have had some involvement, or something written down that might have happened that night."

Anita Turner, 51, also admitted to removing a jacket from Turner's room when it was a crime scene, but says police officers saw her doing so, so she did not believe she had perverted the course of justice.

Anita cried at times during the trial. She cried when her son was on the witness stand and when she was also questioned.

She told the court she called her husband before emergency services because she didn't think Longley was dead.

Longley was often hard to wake, especially after a night out drinking, she said. So she tried to wake her by getting her to sip tea and smell an orange before realising something was terribly wrong, which is when she called her husband.

Police recordings heard Anita telling her son: "She kicked you and kicked you, even though she is slim she does kick boxing, it was self defence. Stick with it."

Later Anita was heard saying: "You have got to stick to it that you didn't do anything."

When asked about her comments she told the court: "I don't know what self defence means.

"It's what they say in the movies when someone has a fight and an accident happens. When I told him to stick with it I meant stick with the truth."

The jury also heard a recording of her telling her son that Longley had ruined his life.

He is heard saying: "I was always the one who looked like the bad guy but she caused it. That f***ing bird. That girl has ruined my life."

To which his mother replied: "She did, she did ruin your life."

Under cross examination Anita Turner was asked if she thought Longley had ruined her son's life.

She paused for several seconds before saying: "No."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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