Grief still lingers for Emily Longley's father

Grief still lingers for Emily Longley's father

Mark Longley takes a deep breath, and despite seeming composed, five years of grief and turmoil still linger under the surface.

"I thought after five years I wouldn't cry when I spoke about it anymore, but I still do, and am coming to terms with the fact I always will."

Seventeen-year-old Emily Longley was strangled to death by her boyfriend Elliot Turner on May 7, 2011, at his parents' home in Bournemouth, England. He was jailed for life in 2012, and had an appeal quashed the following year.

CCTV footage from a bar the couple were at prior to the murder shows the jeweller's son, described as a "spoilt mummy's boy", smashing Emily's head against a table.

Five years into the nightmare and her father is still trying to piece his life together. He remarried, moved from the small town of Whakatane to Auckland, and had a son.

"Before she died, Hilary and I were planning on having another child, and I told Emily the news when she was over here and she was very excited."

Sitting across from him, you can feel the raw emotion in his voice and see the pain in his eyes as he talks about his "sweet girl".

"There were many times when I thought if I go to sleep and don't wake up in the morning, then it's not going to be such a bad thing."

While Mr Longley struggles to understand the heinous crime, he says the actions of Leigh and Anita Turner, Elliot's parents, have been hardest to digest.

They served 18 months behind bars for helping cover up the crime. Mr Longley says he no longer feels anger towards them.

"They're living with what their son did and that's punishment for them. I feel more upset than angry because of the fact that Emily's body lay there for an hour on Elliot's bed while they were busy concocting a story."

Since Emily's murder, Mr Longley has rallied against domestic violence with the hope it might prevent at least one more family being torn apart by needless tragedy.

"I wanted to stop another 17-year-old girl going through what Emily went through and I thought, if I could do that... then that would be a good thing."

But he believes there is a lot more work that needs to be done on tackling violence in New Zealand, especially when it comes to educating young men. He says we are too busy targeting the symptoms of abuse.

He wipes his eyes and asks for a breather, before talking about his other daughter Hannah.

"She's 21 and already has a university degree, because she decided to study a year early. Emily would be so proud of her, of the fact she's moving on with life."

The last five years catapulted the Longley family into a world of unimaginable pain, with the murder of Emily, subsequent trial and then appeal.

"No matter what we've all done, no matter what we've all been through, it compares nothing to Emily... this young girl was murdered. All of her future was just gone."