A former science teacher on trial for the death of her daughter denies murdering her, but a prosecutor says the woman intentionally drowned the little girl after she had an “unfounded” belief that her husband was cheating on her.
BBC reports Claire Colebourn, 36, is currently on trial at the Winchester Crown Court in Winchester, England, for the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Bethan Colebourn. In October 2017, the little girl was found deceased at her family home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
According to prosecutor Kerry Maylin, paramedics found an unresponsive Bethan lying on a bed with her hair soaking wet. They attempted to revive her, but their efforts were futile.
After investigating the incident, police arrested Colebourn and charged her with murder. After her arrest, the suspect allegedly admitted to detectives that she held Bethan under the water.
While incarcerated, according to Maylin, Colebourn wrote a letter to her parents, which in part read, “In my eyes I saved her.” She also allegedly told police that her daughter kept telling her she didn’t want a bath, but the child trusted her mother completely as the woman put her in a bathtub.
“She kept coming back to me, she put her hand on my cheeks, told me she loved me and said, ‘I do not want a bath, I do not want a bath’,” Colebourn allegedly told police. “I waited for the bath to fill, I have never been so stressed in my life. I drowned my own daughter, I drowned my own daughter.”
“I wanted to fight myself but I couldn’t. She didn’t fight… She had complete trust in me.”
Colebourn now denies murdering the child.
Maylin said Colebourn thought her chief executive husband, Michael, was having an affair, although it was never proven. Colbourne filed for divorce shortly before Bethan’s death. Although the divorce was not yet final, Michael moved out in September 2017, and made arrangements to have visitations with his child, something the suspect apparently had issues with.
On September 7, 2018, Colebourn reportedly wrote a Facebook message, detailing how and why she thought Michael had been cheating on her. Colbourne later changed her Wifi password, paranoid that her husband was keeping track of her Internet activity, according to the prosecutor.
“He has been having an affair with his financial director at work. Everything has been pre-planned. They are aiming to conquer the business and set up a new life together.”
Colbourne later got a new laptop and immediately began searching for suicide-related websites, according to court testimony. She visited a site called, “How to Kill by Drowning,” and watched a YouTube video entitled, “Someone Drowns in a Tub Nearly Every Day.”
“Claire Colebourn said ‘I did it because I did not want her to go anywhere near her father,’” Maylin said.
When Colebourn received a call from someone accusing her of harassing Michael, it “tipped her over the edge,” the prosecutor added.
Michael, who testified earlier this week, held back tears as he told the jury his daughter was “happy” the last time he saw her. He explained that when he went to visit the little girl days later on October 19, at the home he once shared with the suspect, there was no answer. Bethan was inside, but she was already dead by the time her father arrived.
“It was the first time I was to have Bethan on my own [after splitting up]. Claire was not very keen to give Bethan to me and started again to ask why I was doing this and trying to prevent me from taking Bethan, which also upset Bethan.” Michael testified, according to DailyMail.
“I was due to see Bethan on October 19. I could see the dog in the kitchen when I went to the house, but he was shut in the kitchen. I thought maybe I had made a mistake and I went back to work in the end.”
Later that day, Colebourn’s mother, Janet Fildew, found Belan inside the home unresponsive. She dialed the police immediately. Fildew also found Colebourn, a diabetic, lying on her bed unresponsive. The suspect reportedly tried to take her own life by giving herself an injection of 306 units of insulin.
The trial continues. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.