The partner of strangled teacher Jane Longhurst told a court her alleged killer was a liar.

Malcolm Sentance, 35, described a frantic phone call he made to Graham Coutts the day after Jane disappeared. Her last phone call had been to Coutts' home.

She was friendly with his girlfriend, who was pregnant and suffering morning sickness.

Giving evidence on the opening day of Coutts' murder trial at Lewes Crown Court yesterday, Mr Sentance said he could get no reply on her mobile and so called Coutts on his land line.

He said: "I tried everyone, everywhere. I tried the hospitals as anyone would do in a loving relationship.

"He (Coutts) said she had called him in the morning and she would call back later but that hadn't happened.

"Graham's voice was just as normal. There were no signs he was the liar that he was."

Guitarist and part-time salesman Coutts denies murdering Jane, 31, at his home in Waterloo Street, Hove.

It is alleged he kept her corpse in storage for more than a month, visiting ten times to satisfy his sexual perversions.

He only moved the body from the storage unit when staff complained about the smell.

Coutts then took the body to a remote wood near Pulborough, where he set Miss Longhurst's remains alight.

Mr Sentance, who lived with Jane in Shaftesbury Road, Brighton, for three years, began his evidence by describing how they met through the local classical music scene.

He then told of their loving relationship, how Jane repeatedly asked him to marry her.

He said: "She'd ask did I want a child - it was pillow talk and she wasn't pressurising me."

He said they had a normal sexual relationship and neither had any interest in kinky sex.

Mr Sentance said Jane met Coutts' partner Lisa Stephens when they taught at Oakmeads Community College in Burgess Hill. The two became closer when Lisa fell pregnant.

He said: "Jane was a bit broody and was over the moon for Lisa. That's why she telephoned their home."

The call on March 14 last year was the last Jane made. John Kelsey-Fry QC, prosecuting, said only Coutts knew what happened that day and why Jane went to his flat but it ended with Coutts strangling her.

Coutts hid her body for 11 days, possibly in an empty flat above his home, and then stored it for the following 24 days in the Big Yellow Storage Company warehouse in Lewes Road, Brighton. Mr Kelsey-Fry said Coutts regularly visited the body before dumping and setting it on fire on April 19 at Wiggonholt Common, Pulborough.

Mr Kelsey-Fry asked: "Why would he (Coutts) take such a risk in storing and visiting the body?

"The prosecution suggests the answer lies in the very reason Jane Longhurst was murdered."

He said two previous girlfriends of Coutts would testify how he would tie their hands and strangle them during sex. Coutts' computer showed he was an active user of pornography.

He had typed in search words including "strangled women", "dead women", "rape" and "murder". Web sites visited included "necrobabes", "rapepassion" and "violentpleasure", which displayed pictures and short films of women apparently being strangled, raped and killed.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "The computer memory contained 809 pornographic images. Of these, 699 can be categorised as asphyxiation and strangulation, rape, torture and violent sex."

Records showed Coutts visited the web sites the day before Jane went missing and two days before her body was found.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "Images accessed by the defendant after Jane's death, when he alone had access to her body in the storage unit, graphically show the fantasies he enjoyed at that time.

"There is an obvious parallel between the images and the scene that must have confronted him whenever he visited the Big Yellow.

"The Crown suggest the murder was the manifestation of the defendant's fixation with helpless and strangled women in a sexual context."

On the day Jane died Coutts had acted out for real the fantasies he viewed on the internet.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "He subsequently kept and visited his 'trophy' until the smell forced him to dispose of the body."

The defence might suggest Jane's death was an accident but there was no evidence Jane was having an affair with Coutts.

Home Office pathologist Dr Vesna Djurovic told the court today Jane died from strangulation.

She examined her body, naked except for a green woollen scarf wrapped around her face and neck, the day after it was found at Wiggonholt Common, Pulborough.

A pair of women's tights was tied tightly around Jane's neck and she had been dead for between four and five weeks.

Dr Djurovic said there was no evidence Jane had been sexually assaulted but that possibility could not be excluded entirely because the body had been badly burned.

The trial continues.