Mum charged with murder seven years

First published in News

A mum has appeared in court charged with murder seven years after the death of her daughter.

Lucy Dunford was airlifted to hospital after she was found unconscious in her bedroom at the family home in Pelwood Road, Camber, near Rye.

Despite attempts to revive her, three-year-old Lucy was declared dead shortly after arrival at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, in February 2004.

Her mother Lesley Dunford, 32, was twice arrested on suspicion of murder but no charges were brought against her.

An inquest into Lucy’s death in 2009 was halted after East Sussex coroner Alan Craze raised concerns.

He ordered that details of the case should be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider if further action should be taken.

He said he could not rule out the possibility Lucy was unlawfully killed after she was found to have died from asphyxia caused by the forced blockage of her airways.

Detectives from Sussex Police major crime branch travelled to Dunford’s new home in Windemere Close, Exeter, earlier this week.

She was arrested and brought back to Sussex on Tuesday and was held in custody in Brighton overnight.

Dunford spoke only to confirm her name and address during a brief hearing at Hastings Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Wearing a blue hooded top, blue jeans and purple glasses, she did not enter a plea after the charge of murdering her daughter on February 2, 2004, was put to her.

Presiding magistrate Timothy Lawrence remanded Dunford in custody to appear at Lewes Crown Court today.

Lucy’s death followed that of her younger brother, Harley, six months earlier.

He died from natural causes after suffering a leg infection in August 2003, when he was just seven months old.

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