THE wheels of Justice turn slowly but they finally caught up with Lesley Dunford this week.
For six weeks now we have heard evidence of how a normal family day, with a trip to the shops, playing and stories, ended up with a three year old girl laying dead in the Conquest Hospital.
Dunford was convicted of manslaughter. The difference between manslaughter and murder is that with murder there has to be an intent to kill or cause serious harm. The jury could not be sure of that and Dunford could walk free in less than four years.
But in the light of the verdict, surely there is intent in maintaining the stance of denial through a six week trial and in changing her account from one police interview to another when she first claims little Lucy was perfectly normal and her “usual chatty self” on the day she died to then saying she was going downhill and she was concerned she may have meningitis to fit in with a change of view from a pathologist’s report she had seen which said Lucy could have died from the fast onset of a disease.
Again in the light of the verdict, how chilling and cynical does it now seem that Dunford, observing her daughter laying dead in the hospital, remarked to a nurse: “I know some people do wicked things to their children but I could not do that to mine. I love them to much.”
Also to a nurse she said: All I want to do is hug and kiss her.”
One thing remains certain, as Judge Richard Brown observed – only Lesley Dunford knows what really happened in that little girl’s bedroom back in February 2004.