Louise Porton: Woman murdered young daughters after they ‘got in the way’ of her sex life

Mother was seen ‘laughing and using FaceTime to speak to man’ at funeral parlour two days after killing youngest child

Chris Baynes
Thursday 01 August 2019 16:52 BST
Louise Porton: woman murdered young daughters after they 'got in the way' of her sex life

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A mother has been convicted of murdering her two young daughters after they “got in the way” of her sexual relationships with men.

Louise Porton had denied killing three-year-old Lexi Draper and 17-month-old Scarlett Vaughan, but was found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court after a five-week trial.

Jurors heard Porton accepted 41 friend requests on a dating app just a day after the first child Lexi died. She was also described by prosecutors as “calm and emotionless” following Scarlett’s death.

While the elder child was ill in hospital, just over a week before her death, Porton took topless photos in the toilets and was arranging to perform sex acts for money with a man she had met through a website.

The 23-year-old, of Skiddaw, Rugby, Warwickshire, suffocated Lexi in the early hours of 15 January last year and was then heard “laughing” at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett on 1 February.

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

Prosecutors said it had appeared to the funeral arranger present that Porton was “using FaceTime and that she was speaking to a man”.

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

Opening the Crown’s case at the start of the trial, prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC 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.”

Both children had symptoms consistent with deliberate airway obstruction and Scarlett had signs of recent bleeding in her neck tissue, suggestive of neck compression, jurors heard.

Mr Saxby said specialist doctors could find no “natural reason” for either child’s death.

Lexi had been taken to hospital on 2 January and 4 January, almost two weeks before she died, but was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection.

Prosecutors said that while in hospital with her sick daughter, Porton went to the toilets and took topless photos.

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

It was in the days after Lexi was discharged on 4 January, the prosecution alleged the mother looked online for “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.

Prosecutors alleged Lexi had been dead for some time before a 999 call was made from her home on 15 January, with Mr Saxby pointing to evidence of Porton‘s web searches.

After Scarlett’s fatal collapse, Porton told police it was “entirely false” to suggest the toddler was already dead when she was recorded on CCTV carrying the little girl from a hotel, in Rugby, where she had been staying.

But the paramedic responding to the subsequent non-emergency 111 call Porton made, described the girl being “freezing and completely lifeless” when he arrived.

CCTV showed Porton filling up with petrol during the period when jurors heard Scarlett had already died.

The first day of trial was told that from August 2016 until early November 2017, Porton lived at an address in Willenhall, near Walsall, where her landlady spent “more and more time” caring for Lexi and Scarlett while their mother was “doing social things” instead of looking after them.

The landlady later told police Porton was doing “whatever she could not to have them with her”.

Conceding that being a young mother of two young children would have placed a burden on the defendant, Mr Saxby added: “No doubt, she would have needed time to herself.

“But, in the context of what was later to happen – in the context of two unexplained deaths consistent with deliberate airway obstruction – 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.”

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Porton had denied wrongdoing throughout, 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.”

Anjuli Shergill, senior crown prosecutor for the West Midlands, said in a statement issued after the jury’s verdict: “This is a deeply upsetting case involving the death of two very young children at the hands of their mother.

“We will never be able to say for certain why Louise Porton killed her children; the lack of emotion she has shown throughout the proceedings has been disconcerting.

“She has robbed her daughters of their lives and denied their father the opportunity to know them.”

Porton will be sentenced by Ms Justice Yip on Friday.

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