Mother Fiona Donnison denies murder of children

Elise and Harry Donnison
Image caption Elise and Harry, aged two and three, appeared to have been asphyxiated

A mother has pleaded not guilty to murdering her two young children, whose bodies were found in the boot of a car in East Sussex in January last year.

The bodies of Harry, three, and two-year-old Elise Donnison were found zipped up in holdalls in Heathfield.

Post-mortem examination results showed they probably died from asphyxiation.

Fiona Donnison, 44, formerly of Marshwood Road, Lightwater, Surrey, appeared at Lewes Crown Court. The case was adjourned for psychiatric reports.

Her pleas came on the day she was due to stand trial for the alleged offences.

Defence counsel Simon Russell-Flint QC said although expert reports had been served on the court ahead of the expected opening of the trial, they revealed the necessity for further expert opinion to be obtained by the prosecution and the defence.

"So as to be able to ascertain properly the defendant's mental state at the material time," he said.

A further hearing is due to be held on 15 March when a new trial date is expected to be fixed.

Ms Donnison was further remanded in custody.

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