Mother who drowned daughter sent to secure hospital

A woman who drowned her four-year-old daughter was ordered to be detained indefinitely at a secure hospital today.

Laura Fletcher, 23, drowned Chloe in a bath of cold water before attempting to kill herself, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Fletcher, of Oakdale Avenue, Wallasey, Merseyside, then spent two days in the house with her dead child before reporting the crime to police from a public phone box half a mile away.

Fletcher, who was suffering a serious mental illness, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility last month.

At her sentencing today, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Henry Globe QC, was told she killed Chloe because she feared the little girl was going to be taken from her by relatives of the child's father, Dean Marr.

Andrew Menary QC, prosecuting, said: "Police received a call from the defendant saying she had killed her daughter and attempted to hang herself, but the cord had snapped.

"Soon after the police met the defendant at her home when she immediately repeated, 'I've killed her, I've killed her'."

Police found Chloe had been dressed and laid out on the bed with a soft toy by her side, Mr Menary said.

Next to the child was a note apparently written by Fletcher which said: "I'm sorry Chloe you've died, but I just didn't want to lose you to the Marrs because I was scared of them taking you as you were alive.

"I love you that much I did that. I love you and will miss you loads. I tried but I couldn't kill myself, it snapped.

"I love you always no matter what you think of me, love Mummy."