A former teacher burst into tears today as she denied murdering her three-year-old daughter by drowning her.

Former science teacher Claire Colebourn is accused of killing her daughter Bethan by drowning her at their £400,000 home in Fordingbridge.

Bethan was rushed to Salisbury District Hospital on October 19 last year, after emergency services were called to the converted bungalow.

However, the 'fun-loving, adventurous' little girl was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Appearing today at Winchester Crown Court Colebourn, wearing a black dress with white polkadots, spoke only to confirm her name and enter her plea.

As she was read the details of the murder charge, Colebourn, whose husband Michael works as chief executive officer of Southampton-based luxury marine interior company Trimline, broke into tears before denying the offence.

Judge Keith Cutler remanded Colebourn, now living in Littlemore, Oxford, into custody until her trial, which is due to start on March 5 next year.

The court heard the trial, which will be heard by a high court judge, will last two to three weeks.

Judge Cutler said: "This is the case of Claire Colebourn, who faces the charge of murder of Bethan Colebourn, her three-year-old daughter.

"She has pleaded not guilty.

"This is a terrible and tragic case, which needs full investigation and I completely support the work being done to contact a number of experts.

"It has been decided that this case should be tried before a high court judge, but the availability is very limited.

"In the circumstances, we have a full slot for this trial beginning March 5, 2019."

Mr Colebourn, 37, who did not attend the hearing today, paid tribute to his daughter at the time of her death.

In a tribute, released by the family, they said: "Family and friends are devastated at our tragic loss.

“Bethan brought so much happiness and joy to so many people’s lives.

“Bethan was a fun loving, adventurous and caring young girl who will be dearly missed.

“She will be in our hearts and minds forever.”

Colebourn denies one count of murder.