Judge says "You, their mother, decided to end their lives" as Rugby mum Louise Porton is jailed for killing her two young daughters

Lexi and Scarlett
Lexi and Scarlett

A Rugby mum who murdered her two daughters with a "degree of premeditation" has been jailed for life.

Louise Porton, 23, "squeezed the life" out of Lexi Draper, three, and 16-month-old Scarlett Vaughan.

Louise Porton who has been jailed for killing her two daughters

Louise Porton who has been jailed for killing her two daughters

A court heard how Porton would meet strangers and offered men she met online nude photographs or sex for as little as £30.

On Thursday Porton, of Skiddaw, Rugby, was convicted of two counts of murder following a five-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Today, Friday, Porton remained emotionless with her head in her hands as she was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 32 years at the same court.

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Passing sentence Mrs Justice Amanda Yip said Porton had "squeezed the life" out of both her children for "no other reason" than she had wanted them dead.

She said: "Louise Porton you are now 23-years old and have been convicted by a jury of the murder of your two daughters.

"There is only sentence that the law allows to be passed for murder, that is a mandatory life sentence.

"On January 15, 2018, you claimed that you had found Lexi dead in her bed. An initial post-mortem examination did not identify any obvious cause of death.

"Then 17 days after her sister's death you killed Scarlett. As with Lexi, you tried to pass Scarlett's death off as unexpected natural death.

"Having killed her in the room at the hotel where you were staying, you carried Scarlett's body out to your car and pretended you were driving to hospital to have her checked as she had become unwell.

"You called 111 and claimed Scarlett had stopped breathing in her car seat. The truth is both children died because you deliberately obstructed their airways.

"Scarlett's neck showed clear signs of compression. Blood found on a pillow suggested smothering may also have been involved.

"The signs in Lexi were more subtle but piecing together left no doubt that you had also killed her.

"Text messages sent by you and internet searches done on your mobile reveal a degree of premeditation.

"Lexi had two hospital admissions prior to her death when you claimed that she had suffered fits.

"Before each of those episodes you made internet searches apparently about why a young child might stop breathing.

"From all the evidence I have seen and heard, I am sure that you were responsible or the events that led to Lexi's admissions to hospital.

"On January 4, 2018 you left Lexi in a critical condition, her life being saved by skilled resuscitation by paramedics.

"On the night she died, your internet browsing history is sinister revealing visits to the websites with information about the period during which resuscitation can be effective and the time taken after death for a body to go cold.

"You also sent a message claiming that doctors had told you Lexi was going to die, when no doctor had said any such thing.

"By the time you called for an ambulance, Lexi had been dead for some time.

"I am left in no doubt you delayed calling for an ambulance until you were sure she was dead and could not be resuscitated.

"One way or another you squeezed the life of your daughters. Why you did so only you know.

"Those who loved Lexi and Scarlett have been left bewildered as to how and why you could have done something so evil.

"Your actions have devastated so many lives. Lexi and Scarlett had so much to offer to their wider family but you took all of that away.

"Lexi and Scarlett were blameless. You took their young lives away. In between the two deaths you carried on as normal.

"However the circumstance are grave.

"You are still young. No doubt there were pressures on you. However that cannot begin to explain what you did.

"The murder of any child by a mother involves the process of abuse of trust.

"They ought to have been able to rely upon their mother to protect and nurture them. Instead, you took their young lives away.

"It is not a case of a young mother doing something in the heat of the moment.

"The sad truth is that the evidence offers no real reason for Lexi and Scarlett’s deaths, other than that you, their mother, decided to end their lives."

The court heard Lexi was found unconscious at her home after being suffocated in the early hours of January 15 last year and later died in hospital.

Her little sister Scarlett passed away after falling ill 18 days later on February 1 as a result of having her neck compressed.

The court was told how "calm and emotionless" Porton deliberately interfering with the breathing and obstructed the airways of both her children.

The court was told Porton would regularly ship the kids off while she went to pose for erotic photoshoots. Porton would also offer sexual favours to men she met on dating and modelling sites when she was low on cash or had not received her benefit payments.

It also emerged today how she boasted she was "easy" and "open to all" while selling sex online.

On one occasion she even offered a photographer sex in exchange for money while Lexi was seriously ill in hospital and sent him topless snaps.

She sent explicit selfies to another man writing: “‘If you put enough in we can meet and I will f**k you. Should fund my shopping.”

Porton even suggested Lexi may have suffered the injuries which led to her death by hitting herself on the head with toys.

She was heard laughing on the phone as she chatted to a man on Facetime at an undertakers while arranging Lexi's funeral.

In a moving victim impact statement, dad Chris Draper said he couldn't under why Louise would do "something so evil to our daughters".

He said: "How can I put this into words. I am broken, I have to take each day by day.

"I keep asking myself why did Louise do something so evil to our daughters.

"You are their mother. The person who is supposed to love them and care for them. They were just an inconvenience to you.

"I can't understand why Lexi and Scarlett were killed as Louise wanted to sleep around.

"I sit and think day and night why didn't Louise give them to me.

"Because of Louise I will never hear them, I will never hold their hands or take them to school like a normal dad.

"Louise stopped Lexi and Scarlett from having a dad. Louise has deprived me and my daughters and I will have to live with emptiness.

"I hate Louise, no punishment will ever be enough as I will never get my daughters back.

"I feel like I let Lexi and Scarlett down.

"All my memories I shared with Lexi and Scarlett are shattered."

His mother Sue added: "The family were devastated at the news.

"We will miss out on all the special occasions, family gatherings and them growing up with their cousins.

"This could have been prevented if the girls were with their father.

"I would like to thank everyone who has helped during this time.

"The only comfort is that Lexi and Scarlett are both together."

Andrew Smith QC, defending, said: "I acknowledge and recognise the profound effect that the loss of both girls has on those who were close to them.

"We accepted the vulnerability of the ages of the two girls and the fact that Louise is the mother of the girls.

"Louise was 21-years of age at the time of the events. There must remain a prospect of rehabilitation, she is someone without previous convictions recorded against her."