JURORS in the case of a mother who allegedly drowned her three-year-old daughter in the bath after her marriage broke down will be asked to consider whether the former teacher intended to commit murder.

Claire Colebourn is accused of killing daughter Bethan at their home in Fordingbridge, after the 36-year-old split with husband Michael.

Colebourn is on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with murder.

The court heard how Mr Colebourn left the marital home in early September 2017. The defendant believed he was having an affair.

During a closing speech given on Thursday, prosecutor Kerry Maylin alleged Colebourn had researched 'how to kill by drowning' and cemetery locations in the days leading up to Bethan's death.

Colebourn was found in a diabetic coma by her mother on October 19 2017. Bethan was discovered dead in a downstairs bedroom. She had died 14 hours earlier, the court heard.

Ms Maylin said: "Bethan had been woken from her bed in the early hours of October 19, led to the bathroom and helped into or put into the bath.

"She was forcibly held down with her arms beneath her body, not fighting against her mother as she held her under.

"However sad, however tragic, Claire Colebourn intended for Bethan to die.

"She may very well have intended that she die too. But she didn't.

"Bethan died at the hands of her mother, because that's what her mother intended."

Defending, Karim Khalil described his client as "a woman in emotional turmoil" whose mind "had become entirely consumed with looking back" on her relationship with Mr Colebourn.

He said: "She was at 'rock bottom' but told police she had wanted to 'protect' Bethan."

Colebourn "accepted what happened", he claimed.

"Was she intending her daughter to be killed in the sense of being murdered by her? That is for you to decide," the barrister said.

"She said in evidence: 'I had a complete and utter breakdown.'

"This is not a case where we say this lady is innocent. But we say she should not be described as a murderer.

"Whatever your verdict, she will receive a very significant prison sentence.

"But that will not be the real sentence. It is that for however long she remains alive, she will wrestle with, try to understand and grieve over that she did it.

"She did it, we say, in a state of emotion."

Concluding the case, Judge Johannah Cutts QC, told jurors to try the case "dispassionately" and to consider an alternative charge of manslaughter if they felt that Colebourn only meant to cause Bethan "some harm, but not really serious injury".

Jurors are due to retire to consider the case on Friday.