OCTOBER 13, 2008
A skull and other human remains are discovered by children in woods near Queensway between Wishing Tree Reservoir and Crowhurst Road. Sussex Police said at the time the unburied remains had been there for less than 18 months. A pelvic bone, fibula and upper left leg, which had suffered a full break and had been pinned, were also found.
Within a week, 90 per cent of the skeleton was found by police.
OCTOBER 18, 2008
Police say they believe the dead woman is 19-year-old Victoria Couchman who lived with her father in Beecham Place, St Leonards, about a mile from where the remains were found. A plate with a unique serial number, which was fitted after she broke her leg in a road accident in which her brother died, helps to identify her. Tony Couchman is arrested on suspicion of murder.
OCTOBER 19, 2008
Police are given a further 36 hours to question Mr Couchman at Eastbourne police station. Ms Couchman was a member of social networking site Bebo where she described herself as a lover of comedy and romance films and urged others to ‘live life like it’s your last day’. She had not been reported missing by either friends or family.
OCTOBER 20, 2008
Police say that Ms Couchman’s Bebo account had been used several months after her murder. Ms Couchman had gone missing in May 2008, say police, but her Bebo account had been used to send messages to a friend in August 2008.
FEBRUARY 12, 2009
Mr Couchman is re-arrested on suspicion of the murder of his daughter and released on bail.
APRIL 20, 2009
Tony Couchman is charged with the murder of his daughter Victoria and for perverting the course of justice. He is remanded in custody.
AUGUST 7, 2009
Couchman pleads not guilty to murdering Vicky some time between May 15 and May 18, 2008. He also denied perverting the course of justice between October 18, 2008 and April 17, 2009 in connection with the murder investigation. He is remanded in custody at Lewes Crown Court. The date of his trial is set as January 4, 2010. It is expected to last between five and six weeks.
JANUARY 2, 2010
Couchman is found unconscious and bleeding in his cell at Lewes Prison and dies later. His family issue a statement through Sussex Police, which says he was a ‘loving father and grandfather who would be hugely missed’. The statement read: “The family stands by Tony and do not believe that he did this to Vicky. Rest in peace, Tony, now that you are with Dean and Vicky. From your family, we all love you.”
JUNE 28, 2010
An inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall returns a verdict of suicide and rules that Mr Couchman’s mental state was not properly checked. It rules: “In the period leading up to his death, there was evidence of low mood but no mental health review was conducted. There were no effective observations of potentially vulnerable prisoners while in their cells. There was no system in place to identify potentially significant events in a prisoner’s life.”
JANUARY 16, 2012
An inquest into Victoria Couchman’s death at Hastings Magistrates’ Court a verdict of unlawful killing is recorded.