A 23-year-old woman found guilty for the murders of her two young daughters 17 days apart did so because they “got in the way” of the life she wanted, a UK court has heard.
Louise Porton was sentenced to 32 years in jail for the murders of her children, three-year-old Lexi and 16-month-old Scarlett.
Lexi was found dead at the family home in the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, England, in the early hours of January 15, 2018.
Less than three weeks after her sister’s death, Scarlett was pronounced dead at hospital on February 1.
The court heard Porton claimed she had found Lexi dead in her bed, and similarly tried to pass off Scarlett’s death as an unexpected natural death.
Both deaths were consistent with deliberate airway obstruction, and Porton was found guilty on both counts of murder.
Handing down the sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, Justice Amanda Yip DBE described the murders as “evil” and “calculated”.
“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,” Mrs Justice Yip said.
Evidence pointed to Porton having made two other attempts on her eldest daughter’s life, resulting in two hospital admissions during which Porton claimed the child had suffered fits.
The prosecution also revealed a “sinister” internet browsing history that the justice said showed “a degree of premeditation” in both deaths.
On the night of Lexi’s death, Porton’s browsing history revealed visits to websites “with information about the period during which resuscitation can be effective and the time taken after death for a body to go cold”.
Porton was found to have sent text messages to multiple people on the night Scarlett died “suggesting that you might lose her too”.
“The only reason for foreshadowing her death was that you planned to take her life, as you had taken Lexi’s,” Mrs Justice Yip said in sentencing remarks.
“Lexi and Scarlett were blameless young children, who were plainly vulnerable. They ought to have been able to rely upon their mother to protect and nurture them. Instead, you took their young lives away.”
Court heard children ‘got in the way’ of Porton’s life
Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC told the jury Porton’s children “got in the way of her doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted”.
“The suggestion that your children got in the way of your lifestyle may make for interesting headlines, but it does not truly reflect the evidence at trial,” Mrs Justice Yip said.
“Your daughters did not hold you back from doing what you wanted to.
“The sad truth is the evidence offers no real reason for Lexi and Scarlett’s deaths, other than that you, their mother, decided to end their lives.”
Mrs Justice Yip said while Porton had no doubt struggled as a young single mother, her situation could not begin to explain her actions.
“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,” she said.
"We will miss out on those occasions that we would have celebrated…first day of school…getting married."
Speaking after Louise Porton's conviction yesterday, Det Sgt Owen Fell read this statement on behalf of Lexi and Scarlett's family.
— ITV News Central (@ITVCentral) August 2, 2019
Throughout her police interviews, Porton denied responsibility for the deaths of Lexi and Scarlett.
Lexi and Scarlett’s father, Chris Draper, said he and his family were heartbroken at the deaths of both children.
“When we lost Lexi we were heartbroken and couldn’t believe she had gone. Then we were devastated to hear about Scarlett,” he said.
“Only having a short time with Lexi and never meeting Scarlett makes it all the more heartbreaking. The only comfort is that Lexi and Scarlett are together.”
Louise Porton from Rugby has been jailed for life for murdering her daughters. She will serve a minimum of 32 yrs.
— Warwickshire Police (@warkspolice) August 2, 2019
Warwickshire Police, who investigated both children’s murders, welcomed the sentence handed to Porton.
“These were premeditated murders for which she has shown no remorse and the length of the sentence reflects this,” Detective Superintendent Pete Hill said.
Porton will serve 32 years less the 188 days she has already served in prison. She will be eligible for parole in January 2051.