Rugby mum accused of murdering her two young daughters after they became a "burden to her", court hears

A Rugby mum is accused of murdering her two young daughters after they became a "burden" and "got in the way" of her offering sex to men in exchange for money, a court heard.

Model Louise Porton, 23, is accused of killing three-year-old Lexi Draper and 16-month old Scarlett Vaughan, by obstructing their airways.

Louise Porton in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court. Helen Tipper / SWNS

Louise Porton in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court. Helen Tipper / SWNS

Porton denies the murder charges.

Lexi was found dead at home in the early hours of January 15 last year after reports she was unconscious.

Her little sister Scarlett passed away after falling ill and was rushed to hospital 18 days later on February 1.

Today (Tuesday July 2) Porton, of Skiddaw in Rugby, went on trial accused of two counts of murder at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jurors were told both girls died as a result of “airway obstruction” after their mother "deliberately interfered with their breathing."

It was claimed Porton would also “habitually” leave the children alone and would do "whatever she could not to have them with her."

The girls became a "burden" to her and "got in the way of her doing what she wanted" - which included offering to meet men for sex in exchange for money, the jury were told.

The court also heard on one occasion she even discussed sending explicit images to a man in return for cash while she was in hospital with seriously ill Lexi.

She wrote to one man: “‘If you put enough in we can meet and I will f**k you. Should fund my shopping.”

Following the death of Lexi Porton had remained "particularly unemotional and detached”, according to the paramedics who attended the scene.

Opening the case, Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said: "This case concerns the deaths of this defendant’s two young children. Their names are Lexi and Scarlett.

“Lexi was three years old when she died. Scarlett was 17 months old when she died. And they died within 18 days of each other.

"No doubt, being a young mother of two young children will have placed an enormous burden on the defendant; and, no doubt, she needed time to herself.

“But, in the context of what was later to happen – 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.

“When in due course an investigation into the deaths of Lexi and Scarlett was launched, police seized the defendant’s phone and were able to piece together something of the life she was leading.

“Putting it simply and I hope neutrally, this wasn’t a life in which caring for her two young children, indeed, having two young children to care for, always easily fitted.”

The court also heard Porton had messaged several males asking for them to put money into bank account in exchange for sexual images and offers of sex.

Reading out WhatsApp messages between Porton and users called “Jas” and “Jazz” prior to Lexi’s death, Mr Saxby said: “She sent sexual images and her sort code.

“She said ‘tell me how much you put in and I will do pictures’. ‘If you put enough in we can meet and I will f**k you. ‘Should fund my shopping’.”

Mr Saxby said an examination of Porton's phone records revealed searches for: "Can you actually die if blocked nose and forcibly closed mouth with tape."

She also looked up: "For how long after drowning can someone be resuscitated?", "How long does it take a dead body to go cold up to the shoulder?" and "five weird things that happen after you die".

The court heard Porton first called 111 on the evening of January 2 last year as she thought Lexi had had a fit and stopped breathing.

Mr Saxby added: “Later that evening, she took Lexi to hospital.

“Lexi was examined, she had recovered, no cause could be found for the fit and she was allowed home the next day.”

She dialled 999 in the early hours of the following morning after Lexi stepped breathing - but after being revived was sent home after doctors thought she had a chest infection.

Mr Saxy said: "This time, paramedics attended her address. They found Lexi in a deep state of unconsciousness.

“They revived her and took her to hospital where she was admitted for a more thorough examination.

"Lexi’s symptoms were consistent with some sort of deliberate airway obstruction – i.e. with someone having deliberately interfered with her ability to breathe.

"But doctors had no reason to suspect this at the time, they thought Lexi had a chest infection and she was given antibiotics before being discharged on January 8.".

The court heard Porton then called emergency services on January 15 after Lexi stopped breathing again. Medics arrived and found Lexi dead.

Mr Saxby said: “Indeed, it was clear that she had been dead for some time.

"Judging how an innocent mother, a mother not responsible for her three-year old’s death, would react in such circumstances is nigh on impossible; and allowances must be made – shock and grief can manifest themselves in very different ways.

"She was particularly unemotional and detached and in the days that followed, the defendant’s attitude to what had happened, was not always as one would expect of an innocent mother coming to terms with so shocking a bereavement”.

Several days later Porton again called 111 saying she was heading to hospital with Scarlett.

Mr Saxby added: “The operator asked the defendant to see if she could wake Scarlett.

“The defendant went through the process – you may well conclude having heard the evidence that this was something of a charade – of seeing if she could wake her.

"But she could not. Because Scarlett was dead. She had been dead for some time.

"Both children, then. One aged three years, the other aged 17 months.

“Neither with any sort of relevant medical history. Both dead. Within 18 days of each other.

"As you would expect, a police investigation was launched and a number of specialist doctors were engaged to assist with what had happened.

“Their conclusions, in short:

“No natural cause of death for either child. That is to say, the doctors could not find any ‘natural’ reason why either should have died.

“And in the case of each, symptoms consistent with ‘deliberate airway obstruction’.

"Indeed, in the case of Scarlett, signs of recent bleeding in her neck tissue suggestive of some sort of neck compression.

"The overwhelming inference is that Lexi and Scarlett died because someone deliberately interfered with their breathing.

“That someone can only have been this defendant"

Porton has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.