A mother accused of killing her two young daughters used a dating app a day after the first alleged murder, a court has heard.
Louise Porton is said to have sent a sexual image of herself to a man in early January - the same month her three-year-old daughter Lexi Draper was found dead.
Porton allegedly suffocated Lexi in the early hours of January 15. The 23-year-old is accused of then killing 17-month-old Scarlett Vaughan less than three weeks later.
The day after Lexi’s death, Porton went on to accept 41 friend requests on a dating app on January 16, a trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Porton, formerly of Skiddaw, Rugby, was also overheard “laughing” at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett on February 1 and seemed “calm and emotionless” after her child’s death, the jury heard.
Opening the case, prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC told jurors Lexi was taken to hospital on January 2 and again two days later, but was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection.
The prosecution alleges that Lexi had been dead for some time before a 999 call was made and Mr Saxby said evidence showed Porton had previously searched the internet for details of how long it would take a dead body “to go cold up to the shoulder”.
On the day of Scarlett’s death, Mr Saxby said Porton dialled 111 at 10.20pm, saying her surviving daughter was asleep in her car near a retail park and she wanted to “double check first” before taking her to hospital from a hotel where she was staying.
An ambulance arrived eight or nine minutes later, he said, but the paramedic who tended to Scarlett said she was freezing and completely lifeless.
“In answer to questions, (Porton) said that Scarlett had been diagnosed with flu two days ago and that her sister had passed away two weeks earlier,” he said.
“She was apparently calm and emotionless.”
He said Porton accepted 41 friend requests on a dating app on January 16 - the day after her daughter’s death.
“In the context of two unexplained deaths consistent with deliberate airway obstruction,” he said. “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.”
Describing Porton’s visit to a funeral care business following Lexi’s death, Mr Saxby added: “At first the meeting with the funeral arranger was difficult, as the defendant appeared tense and she was quiet and staring into space.
“Whilst she was out of the room for about five minutes, she heard the defendant on her phone laughing.
“It appeared she was using FaceTime and that she was speaking to a man. When (the member of staff) came back into the room, the defendant told the person she was on the phone to that she had to go and reverted to how she had been before, staring blankly.”
The court heard that Porton provided two statements to police denying any involvement in either the neglect, ill-treatment or death of her daughters.
She said: “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.”
The trial is due to continue on Thursday.