Mother who murdered children sentenced to 30 years

 

A woman who murdered her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel room has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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

In a written sentence issued to the media today, Judge Adolfo Garcia Morales jailed Smith for 15 years for each of the murders.

It comes after a jury at the Provincial Court in Girona, north east Spain, decided last month that Smith was criminally responsible for the children's deaths.

At the conclusion of the trial, prosecutor Victor Pillado Quintas asked for Smith to be sentenced to 34 for years in prison.

Her defence sought an acquittal, claiming she was in a state of "psychiatric disturbance" and suffering insurmountable fear when the tragedy happened.

Judge Garcia Morales said he was imposing the minimum sentence for murder because he considered that, although responsible for her actions, Smith was suffering a degree of "mental disturbance" when she committed the crimes.

He wrote: "The jury stressed that this mental disturbance was not as important as the defence had argued.

"This was based on facts such as several suicide attempts made by Smith, a statement she gave during which she appeared normal and did not make any significant mistakes as she described what had happened and how it happened, the composition of several coherent notes, and calculations she made in order to pay what she believed she still owed to the hotel."

The judge also dismissed the defence's claim that Smith had been suffering "insurmountable fear" when she murdered her children because she feared British social services would take them away from her.

He wrote: "It would have been consequent with insurmountable fear if she had attacked or even killed the members of English social services who she felt were threatening to take her children away.

"It is illogical that out of insurmountable fear of losing her children she decided to kill them."

The killings took place shortly after Smith's 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, because Smith's eldest daughter by her first husband had accused Mr Smith of sexually abusing her.

After her partner was deported to the UK, Smith thought British social services had travelled to Spain to take her children away from her.

In December 2010, Martin Smith was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of using hypnotism, bullying and violence to groom and sexually abuse Smith's eldest daughter, Sarah Richardson, who has waived her right to anonymity.

Last January, he was found hanged in his cell at Strangeways Prison in Manchester.

When Martin Smith was arrested, Smith at first tried to carry on with her life in Barcelona.

But after she was approached on the street by somebody asking if she was "the woman whose husband had been arrested", she fled with the children to Lloret.

On the night of May 17, she murdered Daniel and then Rebecca by smothering them with a plastic bag as they slept.

The jury heard Smith then tried to end her own life by cutting herself with razors, covering her head with a plastic bag, hanging herself with telephone cable and trying to drown in a bath.

Before attempting suicide, she left four notes and an envelope containing money for the hotel.

In one of the notes, addressed to Rebecca and Daniel, she wrote: "I love you very much. I haven't been able to give you a marvellous life together. I am so sorry."

After failing to kill herself, she went down to the Miramar Hotel's reception at 1.30pm the following day and asked for police and ambulance to be called.

When police arrived, Smith immediately confessed to killing the children.

In a video interview filmed in the room next to where the murders happened, Smith told Spanish officers: "I gave my children a three-day holiday, a perfect holiday, we were very, very happy.

"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."

Martin Smith, originally from North Shields, had been a singer working in North East clubs before working as a TV psychic.

Lianne Smith was living in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, and going through a divorce from her first husband when she met him through a dating agency in October 1992.

The couple lived together in a caravan in Northumberland, with Lianne's two children from her previous marriage, Sarah and Christopher.

Later they moved to Cumbria, where Lianne worked as a manager at Cumbria County Council's children's services department.

In 2007 they were living in Lichfield when they fled to Spain with Rebecca after Sarah Richardson's complaint against Mr Smith.

Daniel was born in Spain in June 2009.

During the trial, both the prosecution and police claimed that DNA tests carried out by Interpol had determined Martin Smith was not Rebecca and Daniel's father.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

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
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam