Mother who drowned daughter, 3, in a bathtub to spite husband is jailed for 18 years

Mother who drowned daughter, 3, in a bathtub to spite husband is jailed for 18 years

A mother who drowned her three-year-old in a bath after she wrongly accused her husband of having an affair, has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years. The woman Claire Colebourn had held her daughter, 3-year-old Bethan, under water before placing her dead body on her bed on October 19, 2017.  

The child's body was then discovered with soaking wet hair by her grandmother the next day. Claire who hails from Fordingbridge, Hants was jailed today for life with a minimum of 18 years after she was found guilty of murder after a trial which took place at the Winchester Crown Court last week. Claire had falsely believed that her husband 38-year-old Michael was having an affair with a colleague at his marine firm. 


Claire then spent many weeks searching the internet on "how to kill by drowning" and whether drowning was "relatively painless" after Michael left her in September 2017. Around a month after this, Claire woke Bethan up and took her to the bathroom where she put her head under water while her daughter begged, "I don't want a bath mummy."

The Mirror reports that she even set an alarm for when to kill Bethan and had altered her will the next day. However, in court, the ex-science teacher was seen rubbing her head as sickening and horrific details of her crime were read out. She did not react at all when her sentence was read out.

In an emotional victim impact statement, Bethan's father Michael who saw his wife being sentenced to jail revealed that he "desperately missed being a daddy."

As reported by The Sun, Justice Johannah Cutts shared, "She (Bethan) was clearly a beautiful little girl who was full of life. She had everything to live for. You were her mother, you were responsible for her care and her wellbeing." 

Bethan Colebourn was found dead in her home in October 2017 (Source: Hampshire Police)
Bethan Colebourn was found dead in her home in October 2017 (Source: Hampshire Police)

Prosecutor Maylin shared with the court, "Claire Colebourn said 'I did it because I did not want her to go anywhere near her father. She told officers Bethan said 'I don't want a bath mummy, I don't want a bath. She said she held her hand to hold her under the water, she said she did it because 'I didn't want her to go anywhere near her father'.

She confirmed when Bethan came out of the water she was already dead. She said she took her to the downstairs bedroom, wrapped her under her arm and then injected herself with insulin." The Mirror reports she was found by her mom about 14 hours after she committed the murder, in a diabetic coma.

Claire had cried as she recalled how she found it difficult to deal with her relationship with her husband getting 'worse and worse' and revealed she intended to kill herself. She added that the little girl 'would cling to her' because she did not want to see her dad.

"She's going to be a lot safer in heaven than she is anywhere near her father. The spirit can be at peace then, and Michael would not let us be in peace." She also said she believed she would be "with Bethan in heaven" but was instead "forced to stay alive". The couple had separated in September 2017 and Michael had arranged to see Bethan twice a week until formal arrangements were made.

Claire also commented on the death of her child and said, "She kept putting her hands on her face and said ‘I don’t want a bath mummy. I don’t want a bath.’ I drowned my own daughter. I drowned my own daughter’. Sadly, my little girl trusted me completely. Before I pushed her, I told her I loved her. It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life - her body jumped. I just wanted it to be over as soon as possible. She wasn’t really fighting against it. She didn’t fight. Her hands and arms were tucked under and I think she had complete trust in me. I took her out and I knew she was dead," she continued. 

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