THE death of Tony Couchman means that one of the most high-profile local murders of recent years is likely to remain a mystery forever.
Mr Couchman, 46, of Beecham Place, St Leonards, was found dead in his cell at Lewes Prison in January last year, two days before going on trial charged with murdering his 19-year-old daughter Vicky, whose remains were found scattered in woodland in 2008.
An inquest this week found Mr Couchman had killed himself but both prison officers and fellow inmates said he always maintained his innocence and was determined to clear his name.
The Observer understands police found a point-by-point breakdown of the case against him where he refuted all of the allegations.
But this has not been made public and Coroner Alan Craze was determined that no details about the prosecution case should come out during the inquest.
When he called Detective Inspector Wendy Burton – the second in command during the investigation into Vicky’s death – he ordered that she stick only to dates.
“I want to be very careful indeed,” he said.
“I do not want in any way to be inquiring into the matters with which he was charged. That is not for this inquest.”
The inquest into Vicky’s death will take place later this year, although it too will focus on how she died, not who killed her.
It now seems the truth about Vicky Couchman’s tragic death will never be known.
See the Hastings Observer for the full story.