Camber tot was “stiff as piece of cardboard”

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A jury at Lewes Crown Court heard an account of how Lesley Dunford found her daughter Lucy dead at thewir Camber home in 2004.

Sally Howes, prosecuting, said: “In interview Lesley told police that everything was normal on the day Lucy died.

“She said that Lucy was as “chatty as ever” when she read her a story and they watched TV.

“When Lucy got into bed she told police that she was laying flat on her tummy with her head turned to one side and with the duvet covering her. She said there were no marks on her body at all.

“She is adamant that if Lucy had moved at all she would have heard her.

“She told police she was hyper-aware with sensitive hearing and that had happened since Harley’s death.

“She told police that at 3pm she went upstairs to check on her and found her in the same position but with he head face down in the pillow.

“She said there was a terrible smell where Lucy had soiled herself and noticed there was a cut to her forehead above her left eyebrow. There were four blobs of blood on the pillow.

“She said her face was purple with little red marks under her nose.

“She described Lucy as `stiff as a piece of cardboard’.

The jury was shown a close-up photograph of a blood mark on the headboard of Lucy’s bed.

“The defence case is that Lesley Dunford is entirely innocent and a good mother who just came upstairs and found her daughter dead.

“Mrs Dunford does not have to prove that Lucy died of natural causes. The prosecution has to prove it was a deliberate and unlawful act and that that afternoon Lesley Dunford held her daughter down, pressing her as she struggled and effectively blocking her airway.

“If this was a sudden catastrophic collapse in an otherwise fit and healthy child that was so severe and debilitating that she was unable to protect her airway and cuased a cut to her forehead as she thrashed around in a terrible choking fit, how is it that her highly vigilant mother hears not a sound in all this and finds her daughter in the same position?

“Does that marry with a catastrophic violent choking fit where she bangs her head?”

The case was continuing this week and is due to run for the next two weeks.