mother charged with toddler MURDER

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A MOTHER has been charged with murdering her three-year-old daughter seven years after the toddler was found unconscious at her Camber Home.

Lucy Dunford was airlifted to the Conquest Hospital, from her Pelwood Road home, on February 2 2004 but was pronounced dead.

Her mother Lesley Anne Dunford, 32, was arrested by detectives at her Exeter home in Devon on Tuesday and brought to Brighton where she was charged by Sussex Police.

She was remanded in custody when she appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.

Bespectacled Dunford stood in the dock flanked by two security guards and wearing a blue hooded top.

She spoke quietly only to confirm her name and address of Rydal Mews, Windermere Close, Exeter, Devon.

Magistrates chairman Tim Laurence remanded her to appear at Lewes Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) where a bail application was due to be heard.

The charge follows a long enquiry by the Sussex Police Major Crime branch.

An inquest into Lucy’s death was halted by East Sussex coroner Alan Craze in January 2009 to enable police to investigate the background of her death.

Lesley and husband Wayne did not give evidence at the inquest as they were not legally represented.

Three post-mortem examinations conducted on the youngster found that she had died from asphyxia caused by a forced blockage of her airwaves.

Lucy’s death followed that of her younger brother Harley, six months earlier, who died from an infection when he was just seven months old.

Camber vicar Lucy Murdoch and neighbour Ann Humphries both attempted to revive Lucy with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she was found unconscious in 2004.