Bereaved mother's campaign leads to a ban on possession of violent porn

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Possession of violent pornography is to become an illegal offence, punishable by three years in jail. The new law follows a campaign by the mother of Jane Longhurst, a schoolteacher from Brighton who was killed in 2003.

The man convicted of her murder, Graham Coutts, has won an appeal against his conviction and is now facing a possible retrial. Violent internet porn was implicated at his original trial.

Liz Longhurst's campaign received the backing of MPs, including solicitor general Harriet Harman MP, and 50,000 people who signed a petition asking for the change in the law. Mrs Longhurst said: "My daughter Sue and myself are very pleased that after 30 months of intensive campaigning we have persuaded the Government to take action against these horrific internet sites which can have such a corrupting influence and glorify extreme sexual violence."

The Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, who announced the proposals, said: "This sort of material is not just offensive, it contains images of sexual acts and sexual violence that are already illegal to publish or distribute in the UK.

"Such material has no place in our society, but the advent of the internet has meant that this material is more easily available and existing controls are being bypassed. We must move to tackle this."

He said the Government would bring in laws as soon as possible to ban possession of pornography depicting "scenes of extreme sexual violence". Currently it is an offence to publish and distribute such material but not an offence to possess it. The move will cover online and offline pornography.

A Home Office spokesman said the law was not intended to target people who accidentally come into contact with obscene pornography, and nor would it hit the mainstream adult entertainment industry which works within current obscenity laws.

Last month Coutts, 36, a musician, won his House of Lords appeal against his conviction for the murder of Jane Longhurst. Five Law Lords agreed that jurors should have been offered the possibility of bringing in a manslaughter verdict.