Coroner calls case for the defence

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CORONER Alan Craze decided to call the defence case that was prepared ahead of Couchman’s trial.

It was the first time that Couchman’s version of events has ever been given in public.

Reading the files, Mr Craze said: “The general nature of his defence was that he denied any involvement with the death of Victoria.

“On December 3, 2009 a statement was prepared.

“He accepts that the body found on October 13 was that of his daughter.

“He does not admit that she was murdered. He said she had a history of mixing with violent people. He does not accept that she must have died on either the 15th, 16th or 17th of May, 2008. He does accept that he used his car that day (May 17).

“He does not accept that he composed or sent text messages to himself or Fiona Masters.

“He does not accept he was possessive and controlling.

“He denies behaving as though Victoria was not coming back. “He made eight attempts by text or phone to contact Vicky through May and June.

“He made a withdrawal from her Post Office account after she went missing. “He had put money aside in a tea caddy too for a family holiday.

“He became aware that £590 had been removed from the caddy. He gave Victoria £200 in Sittingbourne on May 13.

“He said he went to get the benefits from the post office account to put in the caddy and realised the money was gone.

“He phoned the police on June 12 to say Victoria had run off and left him with her daughter.

“He was concerned that social services would take his granddaughter away from him.

“He rang Social Services on June 13 and sought to find out about conditions of residence for a grandchild.”