A mother who killed both her children only confessed to the husband who stood by her for years when he told her he was seeing a new woman, it was revealed today.
Wayne Dunford, 58, had supported Lesley Dunford, 37, because she insisted she had nothing to do with the deaths of their children Lucy and Harley.
Dunford, 37, said both children died of natural causes and her husband accepted her story unaware that she had smothered them both to death in 2004.
Seven-month-old Harley’s death was first recorded as cot death, but suspicions arose after her daughter Lucy, three, died at the family home in East Sussex six months later.
In June 2012 Dunford was jailed for seven years for the manslaughter of daughter Lucy and then charged with murder in prison after admitting murdering Harley in a letter to police.
Betrayal: Lesley Dunford only told husband Wayne she had killed their children after he told her that he had found love with someone elseConfession: The letter was in response to telling her he was in love again and said: ‘Yes, I could have told you in 2004 but I was scared what your reaction would have been. I am so sorry’
The child killer is now serving a minimum of 13 years in prison after being sentenced for Harley’s killing at the Old Bailey last week.
Her husband only found out she was responsible after she replied to a letter where he told her he had found love again.
It read: ‘Yes, I could have told you in 2004 but I was scared what your reaction would have been. I am so sorry.’
On his new lover she said: I’m just frustrated that you did what you did but hey-ho life goes on and I have moved on and will start again when I come out of jail’.
The devastated father of two, of Exeter, Devon, said: ‘When I got the letter I was still talking to Lesley on the phone and writing to her believing she was innocent.
‘I owned up that I was seeing someone else. Her reply to me was the first time she ever admitted what she had done. It was a huge bolt out of the blue.
‘To only find out in a prison letter from Lesley that she had killed one of our children was awful enough. But to hear she murdered our baby as well is totally gut-wrenching.
‘It is not worth wasting my energy over Lesley. She is in a place where she cannot hurt me.
‘I never want to see her again. I have finally signed the divorce papers and have cited what has happened as the reason.’
He said he had supported his wife even when she was jailed for the manslaughter of three year old daughter Lucy.
Life together: Wayne Dunford and his wife Lesley on their wedding day, left, and right with their baby Harley, who she would later smother
Anger: Mr Dunford, pictured at his children’s graves, said he ‘never wants to see’ his wife again
She was jailed in 2012 for the killing in 2004 but her husband vowed to stand by her throughout her seven year sentence believing she was innocent.
Their son Harley had also died six months before Lucy but police had said that was the result of a cot death.
The Old Bailey heard how she suffocated her son after ‘something clicked’ inside her when he would not stop crying.
In the brutally graphic letter written in prison, she added: ‘I went back into the room, walked over to his cot and pushed his face into the mattress until he stopped breathing, then I turned his head back to the side and noticed that he had foamed at the mouth and blood had come out of his nose.
‘That’s when I knew I had really hurt him and I didn’t really know why I had done it.’
Wayne says the scruffy handwritten letter sent to him in 2014 was the first horrific realisation she was involved with the deaths.
Lesley also referred to her ‘frustration’ at the end of their marriage.
The letter continued: ‘I’m just frustrated that you did what you did with [the new girlfriend].
‘But hey-ho life goes on and I have moved on and will start again when I come out of jail.’
She also wrote of her admission: ‘No-one is putting words in my mouth.’
Dunford, pictured before a court hearing earlier this year, was jailed for seven years for the manslaughter of daughter Lucy and was jailed for a minimum of 13 years last week for killing son Harley
Dunford, pictured during her initial police interview in 2004, wrote a confession to the murder of her son while in prison for the manslaughter of her daughter, the Old Bailey heard
Then, after several months with no contact, Wayne got a letter from a social worker to say Lesley had been moved to a psychiatric hospital in Wales.
CONFESSION OF A MURDERER
The Old Bailey heard police re-opened the case of Harley’s murder after Dunford confessed, both verbally and in writing, to killing him to prison staff at Drake’s Hall in Staffordshire. She drafted a handwritten confession after verbally admitting she killed both children in their home in East Sussex.
After her arrest she refused to comment to police during an interview but a forensic analysis of her handwriting showed it was her who wrote the confession.
The confession stated: ‘I remember the day very clearly, the time I put Harley back to bed at 9am, after I had given him his breakfast. I was settling him down in his cot. I put him on his tummy and put his dummy in.
‘But then something clicked in my head and I went back into the room walked over to his cot and pushed his face into the mattress until he stopped breathing.
‘And then I put his head to the side and noticed there was blood and foam coming out of his nose. That’s when I knew I had hurt him and I don’t know why I had done it.’
-She went on: ‘Even though we had a death certificate I know I contributed to his death because I relive it every day.’
The court heard Dunford told a support worker: ‘They told me he died from some respiratory problem, but he didn’t. I killed him. ‘He had blood coming out of his mouth and nose but Lucy hadn’t.’
The prosecution also told the court Dunford had made admissions about Lucy’s death, including hitting her head against a headboard and then suffocating her.
They ended up speaking on the phone and she told her husband she was going to go to the police to confess to Harley’s murder.
The court heard she had pushing his face into his cot mattress when she couldn’t stop him crying.
Recalling the later phone call, he added: ‘She told me she was going to have the police visiting her soon to talk about something else.
‘I did not want to ask too much – as I was scared of what she might say. But I did ask if it was about Harley and she confirmed it was.
‘I put two and two together though and realised she must have come clean about what happened.
‘I feel awful about it all. I was out there convincing people that Lesley had not done anything for so long but that was truly what I believed.
‘I just never thought she was capable of anything like that. She was just a good liar – and kept up the lie for over ten years.’
Wayne said they had a normal marriage and enjoyed going to the park and beach and they had helped each other get over their double heartbreak.
He said: ‘If I had any whiff, however much I loved her, that she had killed our daughters I would have been the first to go to the police.
‘We grieved for them together and we cried for them together.
‘It is bad enough I have lost two children – but I have also lost my wife and everything I believed about the last 13 years turned out to be lies.
‘I am now finalising the divorce, what we have now is not a marriage.’
Recalling the two children, Wayne said: ‘Lucy was a lovely little kid and I have great memories of going down to the beach with her.
‘Harley was only a very little baby so my memories of him are not much at all.
He had his whole life in front of him – as did Lucy.’