A musician demonstrated on a dummy how he killed a teacher with a pair of tights.

Graham Coutts denies murdering Jane Longhurst, 31, claiming her death was a tragic accident during a consensual sex game involving strangulation in March 2003.

The prosecution alleges Coutts, 39, of Waterloo Street, Hove, had a fetish for dead bodies.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Philip Katz, QC, Coutts was asked to demonstrate what happened.

He stepped from the witness box to stand in front of the jury at the Old Bailey where a stuffed dummy had been placed. It had a blank face and was dressed in a white forensic suit.

Picking up a pair of beige tights, Coutts wrapped them twice around the dummy's neck and tied a knot at the back.

Pulling on the legs, Coutts complained: "These tights are shorter."

Mr Katz replied that they were a standard size. He then asked Coutts why he wrapped them round twice.

Coutts replied that it was his "ritual". He said he had done it on hundreds of occasions and thought it was safe.

He said he hid the body in a garden shed before transferring it to a box in a storage facility in Uckfield. He had then visited the body to check if it was still there, he told the jury.

Mr Katz asked him if this was for a sexual thrill: "You were turned on by dead, strangled women - that was your fetish?"

Coutts denied the claim.

"There is nothing sexual about a dead body," he said.

The body of Miss Longhurst, who was originally from Reading, was discovered after Coutts took it to a secluded spot and set fire to it, the court was told.

Coutts, a father-of-two, who was born in Fife, Scotland, has admitted during his evidence he had been having dreams about having sex with women in which he would be "tightening something round her neck"

since the age of 15. He said he was "quite adventurous sexually"

but denied a claim by a former partner that he was "turned on" by distress.

He described how he went to see a psychiatrist after having "unusual dreams" about following women home.

He said: "I was worried that my dreams might lead me to rape and murder. There was no death, violence or rape but I was worried there were undertones of those things."

But after seeing the doctors and taking a break to visit his parents he felt back to his "old happy-go-lucky self".

Coutts admitted accessing websites featuring images of men overpowering women by using a ligature but said he was not "turned on" by the idea of strangling women to death.

He said he was looking for a "specific image" on the internet which would have featured on some of these sites but was not interested in the rest.

Coutts said on the day of Jane Longhurst's death he had been to her house to pick her up and go swimming but she seemed distressed about something and he invited her to his home for a cup of tea.

The trial continues.