Colebourn trial: I drowned my own daughter

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Bethan Colebourn (3)

A THREE-YEAR OLD girl pleaded with her mother not to give her a bath moments before she was drowned by being held down under the water, a court heard.

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Little Bethan Colebourn told her mum Claire Colebourn: “I don’t want a bath mummy, I don’t want a bath”, prosecutor Kerry Maylin told Winchester Crown court.

The 36-year-old teacher had been left devastated after her husband Michael (38) left her just a few weeks before her daughter died, the jury was told.

The defendant later told police that she had drowned Bethan at their home in Whitsbury Road, Fordingbridge, “because I did not want her to go anywhere near her father”, the court heard.

Colebourn, who is pleading not guilty to murder, then went on to describe how she had taken her daughter out of bed around 3am on 19th October 2017.

She told police that “she kept coming back to me, she put her hand on my cheeks, told me she loved me and said, ‘I don’t want a bath mummy, I don’t want a bath.’

“I waited for the bath to fill, I have never been so stressed in my life. I drowned my own daughter.

“She did not fight. Her hands and arms were tucked under her body. I think, sadly, she had complete trust in me.”

In a video interview with police shown to the court, Bethan’s grandmother Mrs Fildew (63) told how she had tried to resuscitate Bethan after finding her on a bed later that day.

She said: “I picked her up and she was cold, so cold. I said, ‘Bethan, Bethan’. She was not breathing.”

Mrs Maylin told the court how Colebourn later admitted to her aunt in a phone call that she had “physically drowned” Bethan, saying she lied to her family “because of the police”.

The prosecutor told the jury Colebourn’s aunt had then told her: “Promise me one thing, when you go to prison, don’t you dare do away with yourself, because you’ve got to be punished for this for Bethan’s sake, you’ve got to live with this like we have.”

Colebourn’s husband Michael, who is CEO of Southampton-based marine firm Trimline, told the jury how they had been together since 2001 after meeting at university and married in 2011. They had struggled to have children, with Colebourn miscarrying twice before eventually having Bethan in 2014.

Mr Colebourn said his relationship with his wife had deteriorated when Bethan was about seven months old, and he left her in September 2017

He said after the split his wife had made it “difficult” for him to see his daughter, resulting in him telling her only to contact him through his solicitors.

Mr Colebourn last saw his daughter on 15th October when he had picked Bethan up from a park in Fordingbridge. He said when he dropped Bethan home later “she kissed me, hugged me and went in.”

A juror has been dismissed from the case after falling asleep in court on Friday. The trial continues.