It was seven years ago when Sandra Gates made the final break from her lover Graham Coutts.

Their on-off workplace affair had begun when she was a 33-year-old mother of four and he was 21.

Years have passed and their relationship was history until yesterday when Ms Gates, now 46, was asked to relive the most intimate moments of their time together, in explicit detail, before a judge and jury.

Her only comfort was the anonymity afforded by the screen protecting her from the gaze of the nation and public as she gave her evidence.

Lewes Crown Court was packed for day two of the trial as two of Coutts' former lovers gave evidence for the prosecution.

Both Ms Gates and Nicola Stainthorpe had worked with Coutts at window company Storm Seal.

Ms Gates met the man now accused of murder when he was 19. Within two years they were embroiled in a sexual relationship.

For five or six months their sex life was "normal" - then things started to change.

Ms Gates told how Coutts had begun to introduce "different things" into their love making.

Her tears and the sight of her being emotionally upset or distressed, would turn him on.

She revealed how, with her consent, he started to put his hands round her neck, then other things - tights or white cotton pants.

Sometimes he would ask to put a pillow over her face. Sometimes he would want her to struggle, sometimes he would want her to act as if she was unconscious.

He had told her: "It's better this way."

Coutts, who denies murder, glanced occasionally at the screen shielding Ms Gates as she gave her evidence. Twice he scribbled a note and passed it to his solicitor.

Prosecuting counsel John Kelsey-Fry, QC, asked his former lover: "Did you enjoy it." "No," she replied.

Then she added: "But I never got to the point where I was really frightened."

"Why did you let him do it?" said Mr Kelsey-Fry. "I don't know," said Ms Gates, softly.

Under cross examination by Jeremy Gold, QC, for Coutts, Ms Gates agreed he had not been a selfish lover, stressing it wasn't every time they made love these things would happen.

When she added: "He thought he was doing well", Coutts gave a hint of a smile.

Ms Stain-thorpe, Coutt's girl-friend for two years, offered a similar story. Their relationship had also begun with normal love-making before becoming more "adventurous".

It started with Coutts asking her to press on his neck during sex. She told the court he wanted her to press harder so he would black out. She had refused.

Coutts liked to stroke her neck and shoulders during sex and sometimes she let him tie her up. As time went by she began to let him put his hands around her neck.

He wanted her to go further - "to the brink" - by letting him make her unconscious. But if she wasn't prepared to do it to him, she wasn't going to let him do it to her either.

Why had she gone along with these sex games, asked Mr Kelsey-Fry.

"I think at the time I was in love with him and I wanted to make him happy," said Ms Stainthorpe.

Mr Gold suggested she had perhaps enjoyed it. "No," she said, "I never liked it."

Earlier the court heard from the pathologist who examined Jane Longhurst's badly burned corpse, Dr Vesna Djurovic.

She had found Jane with a green, woollen scarf wrapped around her face.

When it was removed, the doctor discovered a pair of tights forming a ligature around Jane's neck.

It was so tight, it was difficult to place a pair of scissors underneath.

Jane's mother, Liz Longhurst, remained in court throughout yesterday's evidence. Jane's sister Sue Barnett and partner Malcolm Sentance chose not to attend.

Mrs Longhurst listened attentively as the pathologist revealed her daughter could have been rendered unconscious within eight to 12 seconds.

Such pressure would have led the person to struggle for breath, to make choking sounds and turn blue in the face before losing consciousness.

Death, said Dr Djurovic, would most likely follow within two to three minutes.