Every morning, one of the first things Caroline Longley sees is her daughter Emily’s fake fur coat hanging in the hallway. It was one of her most beloved possessions, and something of a trademark, but 17-year-old Emily left it behind on her last visit home, telling her sister Hannah she could wear it and return it in the summer.
Hannah never got the opportunity to hand it back. Weeks later, Emily was brutally murdered by her jealous boyfriend, leaving a family still bewildered by grief nearly two years later.
‘There are times when I miss Emily so much that I hug that coat, imagining she is wearing it,’ says Caroline. ‘I can still smell her scent on it. It makes me cry.’
A horribly sad story. The jealous boyfriend was caught and jailed. His parents faced trial (unusually) for providing him with a false alibi and were similarly jailed.
So why the ‘Mail’ article?
For Caroline, Emily’s father Mark, and 17-year-old Hannah, grief is never far from the surface. Recently, however, their wounds have been ripped open once more.
Just before Christmas, they learned that Elliot Turner, the wealthy and pampered 21-year-old who, in May, was found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of Emily’s murder, had lodged an appeal against his conviction and life sentence.
As he’s entitled to do, surely?
‘Turner’s appeal is opening up old wounds which we are trying so hard to heal,’ says Caroline. ‘We are trying to put the trial, with all its horrors, behind us, but now we are being forced to relive it.’
Yes, that’s horrible for you, no doubt. But why this article, why the lengthy details of how ‘arrogant’ and ‘lacking in remorse’ the killer is, and how ‘upsetting’ the appeal is for you?
At the end of the day, he’s entitled to appeal if he has grounds to do so. To suggest that this not be so is, frankly, dangerous ground.
The Longleys don’t actually say that this is what they want, but I’m struggling to see the purpose of this ‘Mail’ article other than to somehow plant the suggestion with readers that appeals by convicted murderers cause grief and are ‘unwelcome’…