8 Jul 2012

Father says killer's family showed no remorse

4:56 am on 8 July 2012

The father of New Zealand teenager Emily Longley says there was no sign of remorse from the family of the man who murdered her.

A British court has jailed parents Leigh and Anita Turner for 27 months, after they had earlier been found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Their son Elliot Turner, 20, was found guilty by a jury at at Winchester Crown Court in May this year of murdering Emily Longley, 17, after going into a jealous rage.

She was found dead in a bed at the Turners' house in Bournemouth, Dorset, in May 2011. She had been strangled.

On Friday, Leigh Turner, 54, a jeweller, and Anita Turner, 51, were sentenced at the same court.

Ms Longley's father Mark Longley says during the trial there was no sign of remorse from Elliot Turner or his mother Anita.

"Turner's mother acted like it was our fault pretty much throughout the whole trial. She would give us very nasty looks."

He says his family was continually shocked through the trial of the man who killed his daughter. It was distressing to hear that his daughter lay on Turner's bed for at least an hour while the murderer and his parents concocted a story to explain what had happened, he says.

Mr Longley says he never wants to have to think about the Turners again.

"It's very difficult when you know someone's done something like that to your daughter and they show absolutely no remorse for it at all. It just makes the whole grieving process even harder."

He says justice has been meted out to the family and he hopes they will reflect on what they have done while they are in jail.

Mr Longley says his own family wanted to act in a way that Emily would approve of during the trial. "We wanted to get through the process and we wanted to get through it well and with some dignity, for Emily."

He hopes to set up a foundation in her name to raise awareness of the early signs of abuse in relationships. He says if someone had stepped in, his daughter could still have been alive today.

Mr Longley says his family is in the very early stages of discussions with Lesley Elliot, whose daughter Sophie was murdered in Dunedin by her former boyfriend and tutor, Clayton Weatherston, in January 2008.

'Misplaced loyalty'

The court heard that Leigh Turner destroyed a confession letter from their son with the knowledge and agreement of his wife.

Anita Turner also removed a jacket from the crime scene as she feared it would have implicated Elliot.

Their actions were uncovered when police bugged their house and recorded conversations in which they discussed whether they had done the right thing.

Sentencing the Turners on Friday, Justice Dobbs said the act of destroying a confession letter was a very serious offence and added that "it strikes at the integrity of the criminal justice system".

Justice Dobbs said she took into account that the Turners were of previous good character. "People speak highly of you both and it's a tragedy that you, who are both respectable people, have lost that by acting out of misplaced loyalty."

Speaking outside court, Emily's grandfather Ron Longley said the sentences brought "a sort of conclusion to a dreadful year."

"We are satisfied with the sentence, we feel it was balanced and just," he said.

When asked if he believed his family had received justice, he said: "In law certainly. Morally, in terms of life, we can't feel that anything has been made fair."

Emily Longley had gone to the UK from New Zealand to study at college just eight months before her murder. She lived with her grandparents in Bournemouth.