A callous mother has been convicted of murdering her two young daughters because they ‘got in the way’ of her sex life.
Louise Porton, 23, denied killing 17-month-old Scarlett Vaughan and Lexi Draper, three, but was found guilty by a unanimous jury after a five week trial.
Jurors heard how when Lexi was ill in hospital, 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 met online.
The part-time model suffocated Lexi in the early hours of January 15 last year and accepted 41 friend requests on a dating app just a day later.
She was heard ‘laughing’ at the funeral parlour and appeared to be ‘using FaceTime’ and ‘speaking to a man,’ according to the funeral arranger.
Scarlett met the same fate as her sister on February 1, whose body had signs of bleeding in the neck tissue, the court heard.
Prosecutors at Birmingham Crown Court described Porton as being ‘calm and emotionless’ after Scarlett’s death.
Jurors were told that after police seized her phone, they uncovered 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.’
Mr Saxby said specialist doctors could find no ‘natural reason’ for why either child had died.
Almost two weeks before her death, Lexi had been taken to hospital on January 2 and then January 4, but was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection.
The court heard how while in hospital with her sick daughter, Porton went to the toilets and took topless photos.
After Lexi was discharged on January 4, the mother searched ‘can you actually die if you have a blocked nose and cover your mouth with tape,’ online.
Jurors were told Porton searched ‘how long after drowning can someone be resuscitated?’ and accessed an article called ‘Toddler brought back to life after nearly drowning’.
Lexi had been dead for some time before a 999 call was made from her home on January 15.
Porton told police it was ‘entirely false’ to suggest Scarlett was already dead when she was caught on CCTV carrying the girl from the hotel in Rugby where she had been staying.
But the paramedic described the girl as ‘freezing and completely lifeless’ when he responded to a subsequent non-emergency 111 call made by Porton.
Scarlett was already dead in the back seat of the car while Porton was seen stopping at a garage to fill up with petrol.
From August 2016 until 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 mum was out ‘doing social things’.
The landlady told police she was doing ‘whatever she could not to have them with her.’
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.’
Porton had denied wrong-doing 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.’
Porton, of Skiddaw, Rugby, Warwickshire, will be sentenced by Mrs Justice Yip on Friday.