Jane Longhurst stared into her killer's eyes as he strangled her, a court heard.

A knot expert who examined tights found round her neck said she must have been face to face as her attacker tightened the stranglehold.

Rodger Ide gave a dramatic demonstration to the jury at Lewes Crown Court yesterday.

He wound a pair of tights round a lemonade bottle held by a court usher and made a half-knot, the first knot used to tie a shoelace.

Holding both ends, he then tugged hard, tightening the bottle and then looked at the jury to ensure they could see what he was doing.

Miss Longhurst's partner Malcolm Sentance, sitting in the public gallery, left the court part way through the evidence.

Graham Coutts, who denies murdering Miss Longhurst, fought back tears.

Mr Ide said it was probable Miss Longhurst was facing her strangler either upright or laying down.

He told the court how he'd tested the knot on a fire brigade training dummy and found it was easy to untie.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Jeremy Gold QC, Mr Ide agreed he had found nothing to suggest whether the strangling happened with or without Miss Longhurst's consent.

All he could say was it appeared the two people were "face to face" at the time.

Coutts, a 35-year-old, of Waterloo Street, Hove, is accused of murdering Miss Longhurst, a 31-year-old teacher, of Shaftesbury Road, Brighton, between March 14 and April 19 last year.

The jury was yesterday taken to the Big Yellow Self Storage warehouse in Coombe Road, Brighton, where it is alleged Coutts hid Miss Longhurst's body.

When they returned to the court, Bonnie Bradford, an assistant at the warehouse, said unit C50 was rented out on March 25 last year, 11 days after Miss Longhurst went missing.

The unit was taken by a man calling himself Paul Kelly, who police later identified as Coutts.

Miss Bradford said Kelly had said he needed the unit for personal belongings because he had split from his girlfriend.

She noticed a smell on the floor where C50 was situated and once it became so bad it was difficult to breathe.

Miss Bradford said the smell started to go when she returned to work after the Easter break.

Miss Longhurst's burning body was found on Easter Saturday at Wiggonholt Common, near Pulborough.

Julie Mangan, Big Yellow manager, said the smell was "horrible" and it was thought to be from a dead pigeon.

She said Kelly paid cash to upgrade his access to the unit to include out-of-hours visits.

The court heard CCTV security footage was monitored and Kelly was spotted taking a large box from the unit.

A worker then contacted the police.

Kenneth Scarlett, assistant manager at Big Yellow, said Kelly gave a care-of address in Old Shoreham Road.

The box he stored was 4ft x 2ft x 3ft and was taped up.

Insect expert Dr Martin Hall said the absence of maggots in Miss Longhurst's body indicated it had been stored in a location where flies could not get at it.

The trial continues today.