Murder accused mother 'tried to protect children'

A woman accused of murdering her two children in a Spanish hotel room today choked back tears as she told a court she tried to "protect" her children from social services.







Lianne Smith, 44, was giving evidence to Manchester Crown Court in defence of her partner, Martin Smith, 45, who is accused of a string of child sex offences.



Miss Smith spoke via a video-link from Spain where she is being held on suspicion of the murder of the couple's two children, Rebecca, five, and son Daniel, 11 months.



Both were found dead in the Hotel Miramar in the resort of Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava on May 18.



Miss Smith is due to stand trial in Spain accused of their murder.



Today via a grainy, black and white video link from what appeared to be an office, Miss Smith spoke directly at the camera as she was questioned about her partner.



The couple had left the UK in December 2007 after Smith had been accused of the child sex offences, which he denies.



Kim Whittlestone, defending Smith, asked his partner, why they left the UK for Spain.



Fighting back tears, Miss Smith replied: "We left to protect Becky, so...sorry, we left to protect her from Staffordshire Social Services and in particular to protect her from the social workers, who had a mission to take our daughter off us."



Miss Smith said social workers had made the "threat" her daughter would be taken away.



"They had already made that threat on the telephone, they retracted that in front of our lawyer, but they made that threat," she added.



Her partner, originally from North Shields, is accused of using hypnotism and violence to groom and sexually abuse a young girl, who he had regular access to, over the period of a decade.



He was extradited back to the UK earlier this year to stand trial on the child sex allegations and is not linked to the children's deaths.



Miss Smith said she had first met Martin Smith in October 1992, through a dating agency, while she was going through a divorce from her first husband and was then living in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear.



They had since been together for 18 years, the court heard.



Asked to describe him, she said he was, "very, very friendly, generous, kind."



She added: "Martin, from the very first day, always seemed to be the most honest person I have ever known. We could talk about everything and anything."



The court heard Miss Smith had at one time declared herself bankrupt, while Martin Smith worked as a singer in a band in clubs in the North East.



He had also worked at Butlins and as an entertainer on ferries and at one point was recording an album in London for a time.



She also told the jury she had practised "energy healing" and studied for an Open University degree in Education and Social Work.



She said Smith had "never" been violent towards her.



"I would have ended the relationship. No, I would never have stayed with him if there had been."



Ms Whittlestone asked if she ever had any concerns about her partner or inappropriate behaviour with young girls.



"No never. Never," she replied.



Smith denies 11 specimen charges of rape, attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault, spanning nine years from May 1995 to May 2004.







The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning when the jury will hear closing speeches from counsel and the judges summing-up of the evidence, before they are sent out to consider their verdicts.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments