Louise Porton: Mother jailed for life for murdering daughters who 'got in way of her sex life'

'Her two children got in the way of her doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted'

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 02 August 2019 13:02
Louise Porton captured on CCTV filling up car as her daughter lays dying in the back

A mother has been jailed for life for murdering her two daughters after they “got in the way” of her sex life.

Louise Porton killed 17-month-old Scarlett Vaughan and three-year-old Lexi Draper just months apart and attempted to present the murders as natural deaths.

But her trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard how she took topless photos in hospital toilets while Lexi was being treated and was later heard “laughing” at a funeral parlour as she spoke to a man on FaceTime.

Porton, 23, denied killing her children but was unanimously convicted of murder.

Mrs Justice Yip sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 32 years on Friday.

Describing the murders as “evil” and “calculated”, the judge told Porton: “These were blameless young children who were plainly vulnerable and ought to have been able to rely on their mother to protect and nurture them. Instead you took their young lives away.”

Mrs Justice Yip told the court Porton had “no medical history or mental disorder that goes any way to explaining what happened”.

“One way or another you squeezed the life out of each of your daughters, only calling the emergency services when you knew they were dead,” she added.

“I am sure at the time of the deaths, you intended to kill each of your daughters. Why you did so, only you will know.”

The children's father, Chris Draper, said he hated his former partner and “no punishment will ever be enough as I will never get my daughters back”.

In a victim's impact statement read to court, he said: “They were just an inconvenience to you; how could you do this?

"I sit and think day and night and I can't understand why my two little girls were taken away because Louise wanted to sleep around.

"Maybe if social services had listened to me, my girls would still be alive today."

Mr Draper described himself as "broken" and added: "I don't know how I will go on as I feel I have nothing to live for."

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC previously told the jury: “It is hard not to draw the conclusion that, for the defendant, at times, her two children got in the way of her doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted."

The court heard that Lexi was pronounced dead by paramedics at the family home in Rugby, in the early hours of 15 January 2018.

Porton called an ambulance saying she had found the girl lifeless in her bed after going in to check on her, triggering Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy and Childhood procedures.

Porton was convicted of murdering her two daughters, Lexi (left) and Scarlett (right)

After Scarlett died on 1 February 2018, Porton claimed the toddler fell ill and she set out to take her to hospital, but pulled over at a retail park to call an ambulance.

Scarlett was taken to hospital and pronounced dead.

Post-mortems and extensive enquiries with specialist doctors could find no natural cause of death for either child and established they died as a result of suffocation.

Both children had symptoms consistent with deliberate airway obstruction and Scarlett had signs of neck compression, while Porton had conducted internet searches on drowning and stopping breathing using tape.

Warwickshire Police launched a murder investigation following Scarlett’s death and arrested Porton on 20 March last year.

Detective Superintendent Pete Hill said: “It is clear from the evidence that Porton tried to kill her daughter, Lexi, on at least two occasions prior to her death.

“Not content with killing one of her children she did exactly the same to her other daughter, Scarlett.

“She has lied repeatedly to friends, family and professionals to cover her tracks. At no point throughout the whole investigation has she ever shown any real signs of emotion.”

Porton had denied wrongdoing throughout the investigation and trial, telling police in a prepared statement: "My children were never an inconvenience to me and I accommodated my lifestyle and personal life around them. I still don't know how my daughters died, or what caused it.”

But the jury heard that Porton used her Google account to search for “Why did my 3 year(-old) stop breathing”, and “Why do toddler having a fit stop them breathing” between 2 and 4 January 2018.

Louise Porton was found guilty of murdering her two daughters by unanimous jury verdict

Lexi was taken to hospital twice during the period, during which time Porton used the toilets to take topless photos and arranged to perform sex acts for money with a man she met online.

The little girl was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection but in the following days, her mother conducted more internet searches asking “can you actually die if you have a blocked nose and cover your mouth with tape”.

Porton also searched “how long after drowning can someone be resuscitated?” and accessed an article called “toddler brought back to life after nearly drowning”, jurors heard.

After police seized her phone, they uncovered further searches about how long it took a dead body “to go cold up to the shoulder” and “five weird things that happen when you die”.

Prosecutors said Lexi had been dead for some time before Porton called 999 on 15 January 2018.

The mother, who described herself as a “model” in texts to male suitors, accepted 41 friend requests on a dating app the following day.

She was heard “laughing” at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett, where a member of staff said Porton had been “using FaceTime and speaking to a man".

Prosecutors said the toddler may already have been dead when Porton was filmed on CCTV carrying her from a hotel in Rugby into her car.

Porton was then caught on camera filling up with petrol as her daughter’s body lay in the back.

A paramedic responding to the subsequent non-emergency 111 call Porton made described the girl as being "freezing and completely lifeless" when he arrived.

Porton was described by prosecutors as being "calm and emotionless" following Scarlett's death.

Additional reporting by PA