Haunted by thoughts they could have prevented their daughter's murder, Mark and Caroline Longley are setting up a foundation in her memory to fight domestic violence.
Emily Longley was just 17 when Elliot Turner strangled her at his parents' home in Bournemouth, England, in May last year.
In May this year, Turner, now 21, was jailed for at least 16 years for the murder, and on Friday night his father Leigh, 54, and mother Anita, 51, were jailed for 27 months when they appeared for sentencing in the Winchester Crown Court after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice. They are likely to serve at least half the sentence after helping cover up their son's crime by destroying a confession he wrote, and hiding a jacket they thought might link him to the killing.
Emily's Whakatane-based father Mark said he was pleased justice had been done, but the lack of remorse hurt. "I hope they're reflecting on what they did. There's been no remorse."
After sitting through every day of the trial, he and his former wife Caroline, and Emily's sister Hannah, opted not to return to England for the sentencing.
Instead Emily's grandparents were in court to relay the sentence to family in New Zealand.
Emily's parents were now setting up a foundation in her memory to raise domestic violence awareness.
If someone had intervened, most notably Turner's parents, Emily could still be alive, Longley said. "We went into the trial not knowing the circumstances of her death, and within day one I was thinking if someone had done something, Emily would still be here."
That was an important message. He and Caroline had spoken to Lesley Elliott, whose daughter Sophie was 22 when she was stabbed to death by former boyfriend Clayton Weatherston in Dunedin in 2008. Lesley had set up a foundation in memory of Sophie, and the Longleys hoped to be able to join forces with her.
"If a few parents who have firsthand experience can band together it would carry a bit more weight," Longley said.
While in England he had done research and found that people who knew something was wrong did not intervene until there was physical violence, which he suspected would hold true here. "If you have concerns, people should start talking out."
He had also found England had many cases where people acted in a controlling way over their partners to a dangerous extent.
A website was being set up for Emily's foundation, and would hopefully be ready within a month. Her death brought a range of emotions, he said. "There's anger, there's despair. You aren't sure what the future's going to hold, contemplating life without Emily.
"If I live another 40 years, that's 40 years without her. It can be quite difficult to raise your level of enthusiasm. She was such a huge part of our lives, such a presence, but she's gone now. It taints everything. Something huge is missing."
Longley moved to Whakatane for work, while his former wife and their daughter Hannah, now 17, live in Auckland. Hannah was in court throughout the trial and was "incredibly strong", Longley said. "But it's been a real struggle."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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