torture and violent sex.
During his trial, the Crown Prosecution Servicebrought further evidence that Coutts’ consumption of violent internetpornography had been high on 13 March 2003, but had been markedlyreduced between 14 March and 24 March.
Coutts was eventuallyconvicted of Miss Longhurst’s murder,
but the tragic events of 14March 2003 were to signal the beginning of a campaign to banpossession of violent images (such as those held by Coutts) whichreached fruition on 8 May 2008 with the promulgation of s.63 of theCriminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
Following the conviction of Coutts, Liz Longhurst, MissLonghurst’s mother, began a campaign to criminalise possession of violent pornography: images portraying sexual asphyxia, necrophiliaand rape. In an interview in 2006 Mrs. Longhurst gave her reasoningbehind the campaign, which went much further than simply takingdirect action against what many saw as the root cause of herdaughter’s death. She said she believed that ‘the internet gives somekind of legitimacy to those who find sexual gratification in suchimages’
and that these images ‘could be seriously corrupting. But if you want to look at them now, you’re not breaking any lawwhatsoever.’
Mrs. Longhurst acknowledged her campaign would bedifficult: to pass such a law would not be ‘as easy as passing a law on
* Law Department, London School of Economics
 1 WLR 1605.
Ibid at .
Coutts was found guilty of murder at Lewes Crown Court on 3 February 2004, but he appealed on thegrounds that the Jury were not offered a manslaughter alternative and that the Jury was inadequatelydirected on the internet evidence. It was dismissed by the Court of Appeal (
n 1 above), but on appealthe House of Lords overturned the murder conviction, ruling that the jury should have been presented witha possible manslaughter verdict (
 1 WLR 2154). A new trial took place in June 2007when Coutts was again convicted of murder and was sentenced to a life term (see H. Carter, ‘Teacher’skiller found guilty of sex murder on retrial’,
5 July 2007).
The Act received Royal Assent on this date. s.63 will be brought into force in January 2009 by Order of the Secretary of State (see n 61 below and accompanying text).
There is a similarity here with Sunstein’s ‘personalisation and democracy’ thesis found in C. Sunstein
(Princeton NJ: Princeton UP, 2001), in particular his second effect of digital personalisationthat ‘Without shared experiences, a heterogeneous society will have a much more difficult time inaddressing social problems.’ (at 9).