Funeral of children 'killed by mother in hotel'

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The Independent Online

A funeral will be held today for two British children whose mother admitted suffocating them in a Spanish hotel room.

Rebecca Smith, five, and her 11-month-old brother Daniel were found dead at the Hotel Miramar in Lloret de Mar, on the Costa Brava, on May 18.

Their mother, Lianne Smith, 43, is being held in prison in Girona on suspicion of murder and will not be released temporarily to attend the funeral.

The ceremony is expected to be held in the seaside resort where the children's bodies were found.

The family fled from the UK in 2007 after the children's father, Martin Smith, 45, was arrested over alleged child sex offences.

Smith, originally from North Shields, was one of Britain's most wanted men until Spanish police tracked him down and arrested him last month.

The children died around the time their father was extradited to Britain.

As both parents are in custody it has been difficult for them to make funeral arrangements for their children, sources have said.

The funeral will be held at 4pm in Lloret de Mar's Sant Roma church and will be a small and private affair.

Prayers will be recited and the children will be buried in the local cemetery afterwards, the priest conducting the ceremony said.

It is not known whether any family members will attend but representatives of the town's civic administration are likely to be present, he added.

The priest, who did not want to be named, said: "In order to show respect for the children, it will be a private ceremony."

Mrs Smith has said she was worried the authorities would take her children away from her and that she asphyxiated them with a plastic bag.

She had fled with them from their apartment in Barcelona to the Lloret de Mar hotel after her partner's arrest.

He appeared at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday for a brief hearing, accused of a string of sex offences and failing to answer to bail.

He was wearing a small bandage over his right ear after being attacked with a snooker cue by another inmate last week in Durham Prison.

No pleas were entered, there was no application for bail and Smith was further remanded into custody by Judge Paul Batty QC.

A provisional trial date was set for November 1.

He allegedly jumped bail while facing charges of rape of a child under 16, gross indecency with a girl under 16, indecent assault of a girl under 16 and attempted rape of a girl under 16.

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