Father of dead children denies sex offences

An alleged paedophile whose wife is accused of murdering their two children in a Spanish hotel denied a string of sex offences today.

Martin Smith, 45, pleaded not guilty to three charges of rape, three of attempting to rape, four of indecent assault and one charge of indecency with a child.

The charges relate to offences allegedly committed between May 1995 and April 2004 against one child.

Smith, who wore blue jeans and a blue fleece top, spoke only to enter his not guilty pleas during a hearing at Carlisle Crown Court.

His daughter Rebecca, five, and son Daniel, 11 months, were found dead in the Hotel Miramar in the resort of Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava on May 18.

Their mother, Lianne Smith, 43, is being held by Spanish police on suspicion of murder.

She has appeared in court and admitted asphyxiating her children with a plastic bag, Spanish court officials said.

Smith, formerly of North Shields, was arrested in Spain on May 7 after the family left the UK in 2007 following his initial arrest over child sex allegations.

He allegedly jumped bail while facing sex offence charges.

Smith, who has lived at various addresses in Carlisle, was stopped by the Spanish Civil Guard in Barcelona and checks alerted officers to his wanted status in the UK.

Mrs Smith was formerly a manager at Cumbria County Council's children's services department but did not work directly with children.

Smith was remanded in custody until his trial at Manchester Crown Court, with a provisional date fixed for November 1.