Murder accused mum ‘researched death’

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Image caption Louise Porton denies murdering her two daughters

A mother accused of murdering her two daughters had searched for details about death on her phone, a jury heard.

Louise Porton, 23, of Rugby, denies murdering Lexi Draper, three, and Scarlett Vaughan, 17 months, who died 18 days apart last year.

She previously searched for how long it took a body to “go cold up to the shoulder” and “five weird things that happen when you die”, the jury heard.

Oliver Saxby QC said there no natural cause to explain the sisters’ deaths.

Opening the prosecution case at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Saxby said Lexi was taken to hospital on 2 and 4 January 2018 with apparent breathing problems.

Doctors believed she had a chest infection and she was discharged with antibiotics.

Paramedics who responded to a emergency call from Ms Porton on 15 January found Lexi dead, said Mr Saxby.

He told the court Ms Porton dialled 111 on 1 February saying Scarlett was asleep in the car while she drove her to hospital.

“The operator asked the defendant to see if she could wake her,” he said.

“But she could not because Scarlett was dead. Indeed, it was clear to the emergency services when they attended shortly afterwards that Scarlett had been dead for some time.”

Children ‘in the way’

Mr Saxby told the jury of 10 men and two women: “The doctors could not find any natural reason why either, let alone both, should have died.”

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Image caption The trial is taking place at Birmingham Crown Court

The girls had symptoms consistent with deliberate airway obstruction, the jury heard.

Mr Saxby said: “The overwhelming inference is that Lexi and Scarlett died because someone deliberately interfered with their breathing.

“That someone can only have been this defendant.”

The first day of the trial also heard Ms Porton’s former landlady in Willenhall, near Walsall, had spent “more and more time” caring for the girls while their mother did “social things”.

Mr Saxby said in the “context of what was later to happen” it was hard not to draw the conclusion her “two children got in the way of her doing what she wanted”.

The court also heard Ms Porton sent a sexual image of herself to a man in early January and messages of a sexual nature alleged to have been written while she was in hospital with Lexi.

The trial continues.

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