Husband says 'I miss being a daddy' as his wife is jailed for murder of their three-year-old daughter

Telegraph Reporters
Michael Colebourn said his daughter Bethan had been taken from him in the most

A grieving husband said "I miss being a daddy" as his wife was jailed for life on Monday for murdering their three-year-old daughter.

In a powerful statement, read out after the sentencing of Claire Colebourn, her estranged husband Michael said there was "not a second in the day that goes by" that he doesn't think about his daughter Bethan. 

Mr Colebourn, a chief executive of a luxury marine interior firm, attended Winchester Crown Court to see his wife jailed for life for a minimum of 18 years and he condemned her for making "endless unfounded allegations" about him.

The court heard Colebourn, 36, drowned Bethan in the bath after wrongly believing Mr Colebourn was cheating on her.

After she was sentenced, he expressed his anguish in a statement read outside the court by Hampshire Constabulary.

Claire Colebourn was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years at Winchester Crown Court  Credit: Hampshire Police/PA

He said: "“There are no words to describe the past 18 months. The one thing in my life that gave me purpose has gone.

“My beautiful daughter has been taken from me in such a cold and callous manner at the very hands of the one other person that should have protected her and kept her safe.

“The loss of Bethan has had a huge impact on so many people: family, friends, and all that knew her. She was such a special little girl – bringing so much joy to all their lives.

“Throughout the criminal trial, I and all those that loved Bethan have had to endure the heartbreak of listening to her last moments.

"I have also had to suffer endless unfounded allegations and lies made against me with no opportunity to respond.

“I desperately miss being a daddy – we would have such great times together; Bethan’s laugh was infectious and her energy was endless. There is not a second in the day that goes by that I am not thinking about her.

Bethan told her mother she didn't want a bath moments before she was murdered Credit: Hampshire Police/PA

“Bethan was my world and being her daddy made me so proud. I miss her so much.”

Judge Justice Johannah Cutts QC blasted Colebourn for her "shocking' actions" and said she was on an "emotional rollercoaster" when she set a 2am alarm to drown Bethan.

The court heard Bethan told Colebourn "I don't want a bath mummy" moments before she was murdered in the Colebourns' £400,000 converted bungalow in Fordingbridge, Hants on October 19 in 2017.

After drowning her daughter, diabetic Colebourn then tried to hang herself, stabbed herself in the stomach and injecting a huge dose of insulin in an attempt to take her own life.

Colebourn, a former biology teacher, wrongly believed Mr Colebourn, who runs a luxury marine interiors firm, was having an affair and spying on her.

Police outside the family's home in Fordingbridge, Hants, in October 2017 Credit: Ben Mitchell/PA

Mrs Justice Cutts QC, sentencing Colebourn at Winchester Crown Court, Hants,  said Colebourn should have been 'sickened' by her searches relating to killing by drowning prior to Bethan's death.

She said: "Bethan was your daughter and only three at the time of her death. She was clearly a beautiful little girl and full of life."

The judge said she wanted to make it clear Mr Colebourn was 'in no way responsible' for Bethan's death after he rejected seeing Colebourn a day before.

She also said: "It's quite something to decide to take your own life but it's something else to make that decision for someone else. The one thing Bethan was entitled to and deserved was a life."

Colebourn kept her head bowed for most of the 30-minute hearing and had a blank face as she was sentenced to jail.

The court heard she has already spent 327 days in custody, which will be deducted from the 18-year sentence.