Longley boyfriend pleads not guilty to murder

ROBERT WAINWRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 01/10/2011
FACEBOOK POSTING:  Emily Longley and her jeweller boyfriend, Elliott Turner, in an intimate photo taken on the night she died.
FACEBOOK: Emily Longley and her jeweller boyfriend, Elliott Turner, in an intimate photo taken on the night she died.
Emily Longley
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EMILY LONGLEY: The 17-year-old was found dead at the home of her on-off boyfriend Elliott Turner in Bournemouth in May.

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Covert video and audio tapes will be the cornerstone of the case against British man Elliot Turner for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, New Zealand student Emily Longley, it has been revealed.

The 20-year-old jewellery store worker from the seaside resort city of Bournemouth pleaded not guilty to the crime in an English court overnight but is not likely to be tried until February or March next year because of delays in the investigation.

Turner sat beside his parents, Leigh and Anita Turner, in a glass dock, and only acknowledged his name and innocence to Judge Keith Cutler, who said he was concerned about delays in what he described as a complex case.

Details of the police investigation, conducted in the weeks after Miss Longley's death, emerged as defence counsels demanded access to the tapes, saying that transcribers had had difficulty in identifying some of the words spoken by Turner.

Prosecutor John Mousely would not give any details outside the court but acknowledged to Judge Cutler that there were delays in the investigation: ''Things are not moving particularly swiftly, I'm afraid.''

Turner's mother Anita shook her head throughout the hearing, pleading not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice by delaying calling emergency services in the hours after Miss Longley was found in a bed at their Bournemouth home.

She and husband Leigh are also accused of removing and destroying ''vital'' evidence. They were represented by separate lawyers at the hearing.

Outside the court Mrs Turner told two dozen supporters who crowded the public gallery that the case had been a ''nightmare'' for the family but she was confident her son would be cleared.

Earlier she had whispered ''I love you'' as he was led back to the cells, in contrast to the last appearance when she broke down in tears. Mr Turner smiled and gave his son a thumbs-up signal.

Judge Cutler stopped short of criticising the prosecution but was clearly irritated by the delays, wanting the four-week trial to be held in February.

He said: ''I am concerned because I would like the public to see that there is some efficiency in the way we deal with these serious cases.

"There are a number of witnesses, including young civilian witnesses, and I don't want this hanging over their heads.''

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Crown prosecutors and police remained tight-lipped outside the hearing but must within six weeks supply a summary of their case against the young man, who partied the night before with the young woman he claimed was his girlfriend

Ms Longley's friends and family say she broke off the relationship that night.

Miss Longley had been living for the past eight months with her paternal grandparents Ronald and Zosia Longley in a large detached cottage in Southbourne, on the eastern fringe of Bournemouth.

She was studying at Brockenhurst College in Hampshire, working part-time at the fashion outlet Top Shop, and had signed up to a local modelling agency.

The cause of death remains a mystery. Drugs were initially suspected to be behind the aspiring model's death but toxicology results are said to have ruled that out.

Turner has denied responsibility:  ''It is weird. God works in mysterious ways,'' he said before his arrest.

''The toxicology report was negative, I did not give her any drugs and the post-mortem was inconclusive.''

- Sydney Morning Herald

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