A woman has been found guilty of murdering her three-year-old daughter by drowning her in the bath, following the breakdown of her marriage. 

Claire Colebourn woke her daughter Bethan in the early hours of 19 October 2017 at their home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, and led her to the bath before holding her under the water until she drowned.

Colebourn, 36, then made multiple suicide attempts and was later found in a diabetic coma by her mother.

Winchester Crown Court heard Colebourn had hit “rock bottom” after her husband Michael ended their 16-year relationship and moved out of the family home.

The former biology teacher initially denied all memory of killing her daughter, but told police she had instructed Bethan to have a bath in the middle of the night.

“Sadly, my little girl trusted me completely,” she said.

Colebourn later admitted she had killed Bethan.

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However, in a letter intercepted at a hospital where she was staying, she wrote: “In my eyes I saved her, everything over those days is a blur.”

Claire Colebourn was found guilty of murdering daughter Bethan
Image: Claire Colebourn was found guilty of murdering daughter Bethan

Prosecutor Kerry Maylin said a doctor described how Colebourn was “only emotional when discussing the fact Michael Colebourn had left her and her daughter and her father had done the same to her mother”.

The court heard the couple’s relationship had been difficult and Colebourn had made “unfounded accusations” on Facebook and in an email sent to her husband’s work.

Mr Colebourn, who is now the chief executive of luxury marine interior company Trimline, was accused of having an affair with the company’s finance director.

Miss Maylin also said Colebourn had become worried – without foundation – that her husband was monitoring her computer, and arranged for an IT firm to supply her with a new laptop and wifi at her home.

Within minutes of receiving the new computer, she began searching for suicide-related websites.

As the guilty verdict was read out in court, Colebourn did not react and there was silence in the public gallery.

Police outside the Colebourn's Hampshire home
Image: Colebourn and her daughter lived in Fordingbridge, Hampshire

She will be sentenced on Monday morning.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This is a desperately sad case in which a young child lost her life in the most tragic of circumstances.

“Bethan would have looked to her mother for love and protection. Sadly, Colebourn failed her daughter in the worst possible way.

“We all have a responsibility to protect children. Adults can report their concerns to the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or dial 999 if a child is in immediate danger.”

:: If you feel suicidal or vulnerable or if you’re worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

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