A mother has been convicted of murdering her two children because they 'got in her way' of her lifestyle.
Louise Porton denied killing three-year-old Lexi Draper and 17-month old Scarlett Vaughan on separate occasions in January and February last year. But today, the 23-year-old was found guilty by a jury of 10 men and two women of two counts of murder.
Jurors heard Porton accepted 41 friend requests on a dating app just a day after the first child Lexi died and was described by prosecutors as being "calm and emotionless" following Scarlett's death.
While Lexi was ill in hospital, just over a week before she died, Porton took topless photos in the toilets and was arranging to perform sex acts for money with a man she had met through a website.
The 23-year-old, of Skiddaw, Rugby, Warwickshire, suffocated Lexi in the early hours of January 15 last year and was then heard "laughing" at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett on February 1.
Watch Catherine Reid's full report here:
CCTV footage: Crown Prosecution Service
During her child's funeral, one of the people who organised the service said he saw Porton using FaceTime to speak to a man.
Following Parton's arrest, police seized her phone where they found disturbing online 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."
Both children had symptoms consistent with deliberate airway obstruction. Scarlett had signs of bleeding in her neck tissue, which suggest she had significant pressure placed around her airways.
Prosector Oliver Saxby QC said specialist doctors could find "no natural reasons" why either child had died.
Two weeks before her death, Lexi was taken to hospital with an apparent chest infection. While in hospital, her mother took topless photographs in the toilets, prosecutor said.
Following Lexi's release from hospital on January 4, Porton searched "can you actually die if you have a blocked nose and cover your mouth with tape" online.
Porton also searched "how long after drowning can someone be resuscitated?" and accessed an article called "Toddler brought back to life after nearly drowning", jurors heard.
Prosecutors claim Lexi had been dead some time before a 999 call was made from her home on January 15, as they pointed to her internet searches as evidence.
Following Scarlett's collapse, Porton said it was "false" that the toddler was already dead when she was recorded on CCTV carrying the little girl from a hotel in Rugby to where she had been staying.
But paramedics responding to the call said the young girl was "freezing and completely lifeless", which suggests she had been dead for some time.
CCTV showed Porton filled up her car with petrol during the period when jurors heard Scarlett had already died.
The first day of trial was told that from August 2016 until early 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 mother was "doing social things" instead of looking after them.
The landlady made a statement to police saying Porton was doing "whatever she could not to have them with her".
Conceding that being a young mother of two young children would have placed a burden on the defendant, 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 held her head in her hands as the guilty verdict was read out. She will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday 2 August.