Mother gave children 'perfect holiday' before killing them


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The Independent Online

A mother who suffocated her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel said she had given them a "perfect holiday" before killing them, a court heard today.

Lianne Smith, 45, has admitted smothering Rebecca Smith, five, and 11-month-old Daniel with a plastic bag at the Miramar Hotel in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in May 2010.

She went on trial today at the Provincial Court in Girona, north-east Spain, so a jury can determine whether she is criminally responsible for the children's deaths.

Her defence is seeking an acquittal, claiming she was in a state of "psychiatric disturbance" and suffering insurmountable fear when the tragedy happened. If found guilty, she faces a total of 38 years in prison.

The killings took place shortly after her partner, Martin Smith, was arrested in Barcelona by Spanish police acting on a European Arrest Warrant.

The family had been living in Spain since 2007 after fleeing Lichfield, Staffordshire, after Lianne's eldest daughter by her first husband accused Mr Smith of sexually abusing her.

After Mr Smith was deported to the UK, Lianne became obsessed with the idea that British social services were in Spain to take her children away from her.

Lloret de Mar was where she and Martin Smith had gone when they first arrived from England, so she withdrew money and went there to hide with her children.

Giving evidence today, Lianne refused to answer questions from the prosecution, as is her right under Spanish law.

But the jury were shown a video of a statement she made to police the day after the children died, filmed in a room next to where the killings took place.

In the video, a tearful Lianne told police: "I gave my children a three-day holiday, a perfect holiday, we were very, very happy.

"We came here (to Lloret) with nothing, we had left everything again.

"This was the end of the road, I knew my children would be taken back to England.

"My daughter didn't want to go, she didn't want to leave me.

"So I know it's not right to take another life, but I felt I was in a corner and my intention was for me and my children to go.

"It was not just the children, it was me as well."

The court heard that after killing the children, Lianne tried to take her own life by cutting herself with razors, covering her head with a plastic bag, hanging herself with telephone cable and drowning in a bath.