Louise Porton guilty of killing daughters who ‘got in the way’

Louise Porton Image copyright Warwickshire Police
Image caption Louise Porton was overheard laughing at a funeral parlour after her first daughter died

A mother has been found guilty of murdering her two young children 18 days apart.

Louise Porton killed Lexi Draper, three, and 17-month-old Scarlett Vaughan in Rugby in 2018. The 23-year-old had researched how long it took for body parts to go cold.

The part-time model denied responsibility for their deaths but was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court.

Prosecutors said her daughters “got in the way” of Porton’s sex life.

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Media captionLouise Porton: CCTV shows murdered girl’s last moments

Jurors were told Lexi had been dead for some time on 15 January before her mother called for help. When the call handler asked if the girl was breathing, Porton replied “no”.

Fewer than three weeks later on 1 February, her second daughter, Scarlett, was found “completely lifeless”.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Doctors could not find any natural reason why either Lexi Draper or Scarlett Vaughan died, prosecutors said

Porton, from Beechwood Court, Rugby, had called 111 because her daughter’s condition “did not seem urgent”. The toddler had died by the time paramedics arrived nine minutes later.

Both Lexi and Scarlett’s deaths were consistent with deliberate airway obstruction. Doctors “could not find any natural reason why either, let alone both, should have died”, prosecutors said.

During her trial, jurors heard how Porton did not seem distressed by her daughters’ deaths.

She admitted sending nude photographs to a photographer and offering sex acts in return for money while Lexi was in hospital in early January.

The girl had been admitted on 4 January with breathing problems. Her symptoms were consistent with deliberate airway obstruction, however doctors at the time were not suspicious and put her condition down to a chest infection.

Image copyright West Mercia Police/Facebook
Image caption Scarlett died 18 days after her sister Lexi

The day after Lexi’s death, on 16 January, Porton accepted 41 friend requests on the dating app Meet Me and was also messaging men on another app, Badoo.

“My little girl passed away yesterday,” she said to a man named Dave, as they chatted about her leg tattoo, before replying “its alrite [sic]” to his condolences.

She also arranged a date with a man named Leon that night and was overheard laughing in a funeral parlour days after Lexi died.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Porton sent nude photos and offered to perform sex acts while Lexi was in hospital

Porton denied that her online searches, including “can you actually die if you have a blocked nose and cover your mouth with tape” and “how long after drowning can someone be resuscitated?”, had anything to do with Lexi and Scarlett’s deaths.

She said she had loved her daughters who were “always making me laugh”, but conceded to jurors that parenting was “not one of the easiest things to do”.

The children “got in the way of [Porton] doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted,” Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said.

The girls’ father, Chris Draper, did not have contact with them and had never met Scarlett, something he said made their deaths “all the more heartbreaking” for him.

“The only comfort is that Lexi and Scarlett are together,” he said.

Det Supt Pete Hill, from Warwickshire Police, said: “I will never be able to understand why Louise Porton murdered her children.

“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 will be sentenced on Friday.

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