Musician Graham Coutts today won his House of Lords appeal against his conviction for the murder of schoolteacher Jane Longhurst.

Five Law Lords agreed with submissions made on his behalf at a hearing last month that jurors should have been offered the possibility of bringing in a manslaughter verdict.

Announcing their decision, they remitted the matter back to the Court of Appeal, which last year dismissed Coutts's appeal against conviction, to "invite that court to quash the conviction".

Lord Bingham said: "It may also deal with any application for a retrial which may be made, the appellant (Coutts) remaining in custody meanwhile." Coutts, 36, of Waterloo Street, Hove, strangled 31-year-old Miss Longhurst, a special needs teacher originally from Reading, Berkshire, with a pair of tights in March 2003.

His trial at Lewes Crown Court heard he kept her body in a storage unit for weeks before it was found badly burned on Wiggonholt Common, near Pulborough.

The court heard that he admitted he had been there when she died, but denied murder, saying her death was an accident during consensual sex.

Court of Appeal judges, when rejecting his appeal against conviction, ruled that his murder conviction was safe, but reduced his 30-year minimum jail term to 26 years.

However, the court said his case raised issues of "general public importance" fit for consideration by the House of Lords, which announced its decision today.

Before Lords Bingham, Nicholls, Hutton, Rodger and Mance, Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Coutts, had argued that there was sufficient evidence of a lack of intent for alternatives to murder to have been offered to jurors at his trial.