A British mother killed her two children in a hotel room in Spain while they slept and spent the night with their bodies, a court has heard. Lianne Smith, 43, admitted smothering Rebecca, five, and 11-month-old Daniel, in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava, in May 2010. The Privincial Court in Girona will determine whether she is criminally responsible for two counts of murder.
Her lawyer said she was in a state of “psychiatric disturbance” at the time. Translation: She pled insanity. Now the deaths took place after Ms Smith’s partner Martin Smith, was extradited to the UK on charges of sexually abusing a girl. Smith, a 46-year-old former TV psychic, originally from North Shields, North Tyneside, was later convicted of rape and jailed for 16 years. In January, he hung himself in his cell in HMP Manchester.
The couple shared the same name but weren’t related. They then left Lichfield, Staffordshire, for Spain in 2007 with Rebecca. Daniel was born in Spain. Previously they had been living in Cumbria, where the offences occurred.
Victor Pillado Quintas, prosecuting, said in his opening statement that on the night of 17 May, while they were asleep, Ms Smith had “taken advantage of the trust the children would have had in their mother”. “She took her son in her arms and put a bag over his head, closing it around his neck,” he said.
“She did not stop tightening the bag until she had killed him. “Immediately she did the same to the five-year-old, closing the same bag around her neck and tightening it until she killed her daughter. “After ending the lives of her children she spent the night with their lifeless bodies.” BBC
The next day Smith went to the reception desk and asked for an ambulance. She confessed to police and the judicial authorities that she had ended the children’s lives. The prosecution though, said she wasn’t having mental issues. Defending, Jenifer Lahoz Abos, said Ms Smith had a “total emotional dependence” on her partner and was left in a state of psychosis after he was arrested in Barcelona on 7 May 2010.
She said Ms Smith had “lost contact with reality” and thought UK social services staff had tracked her down and were going to take her children away. “On May 15 she went out shopping with both the children and saw two people in a car who she later saw walking down the street”, Ms Lahoz Abos said.
“She felt observed and threatened and made a clean break with reality and thought she was being chased by the two people, who she thought could be members of the British social services. “She thought they were going to come and take her children away and give them to other families in adoption.” Ms Lahoz Abos added: “At this moment she entered a state of panic and lost contact with reality, interpreting events in a totally distorted manner, with delirious beliefs that she was in danger.” BBC
The trial is expected to last 4 days.