Mother accused of murdering young daughters to stand trial in July - The Rugby Observer

Mother accused of murdering young daughters to stand trial in July

Editorial Correspondent 29th Jan, 2019 Updated: 29th Jan, 2019   0

A MOTHER accused of killing her two young children within weeks of each other last year will stand trial in July on charges of murder.

Louise Porton appeared at Warwick Crown Court after being charged at the end of last week with the murders of the two girls following a year-long investigation.

Prosecutor Nina Ellin said Miss Porton, 22, of Skiddaw, Brownsover, Rugby, who spoke only to confirm her date of birth and to give her nationality as ‘white British,’ faces two counts of murder.

It is alleged she killed her older daughter, three-year-old Lexi Draper, on January 15 last year, and Lexi’s 16-month-old sister Scarlett Vaughan on February 1.

Miss Ellin said she had been told that ‘no bail application is to be made today.’

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC responded: “I would have refused any such application without more information, but I have not considered it in full.”

Discussing the serving of the prosecution papers on the court and the defence, Miss Ellin said some material including a 57-page case summary had already been uploaded.

So the judge gave the prosecution until February 15 to serve ‘as much of their case as possible,’ and also to identify which experts would tendered for the trial.

And he directed: “If there is to be defence expertise, it should be set in train now.”

Marcus Harry, defending, indicated: “There is to be defence expertise which has already been set in train.

“Prior authority [from the Legal Aid Agency] has been sought in relation to the pathologist and the paediatric pathologist, both of whom have carried out their own post mortems.”

Mr Harry said similar authority had also been sought in relation to a defence psychiatrist, Dr Dinesh Maganty – which led the judge to say the prosecution would also need to provisionally instruct a psychiatrist.

Judge Lockhart said the case had been discussed by the Judicial Team, and the trial will need to be heard by a High Court judge – with one available to hear it at Birmingham Crown Court between June 18 and July 31.

He was told that a date of July 8 had been put forward when both prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC and Andrew Smith QC, for Miss Porton, would be available.

The judge observed that would leave just three weeks and three days for the trial to be completed, because the High Court judge would not be sitting after July 31, but was assured by Miss Ellin: “Both leading council believe that will be adequate.”

So Judge Lockhart directed that the trial should be listed to start at Birmingham Crown Court on July 8, with an application to be made to the court within 14 days if there were any concerns about that.

He adjourned the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing to take place on March 4, also at Birmingham Crown Court.

Remanding Miss Porton in custody, the judge told her: “Miss Porton, you will be tried in Birmingham starting on the 8th of July. If that date is to move, your lawyers will inform you.

“The case is adjourned until the 4th of March when you will be before the court and will be required to plead guilty or not guilty to the indictment.

“If you are to be seen by a psychiatrist, you are to co-operate as best you can.”

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