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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Former Carlisle woman sentenced to 30 years for killing her children

A woman who murdered her two children in a Spanish hotel room has been jailed for 30 years.

Lianne Smith photo
Lianne Smith

Related: Lianne Smith: I know it’s not right to take another life, but I felt I was in a corner

Lianne Smith, 45, formerly of Carlisle, 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.

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

A jury at the Provincial Court in Girona, north east Spain, decided last month that she was criminally responsible for the children’s deaths.

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

The killings took place shortly after her partner, Martin Smith, with whom she had lived in homes around Carlisle and north Cumbria, was arrested in Barcelona by Spanish police acting on a European Arrest Warrant.

After Martin Smith was deported to the UK, Smith 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, she 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 Smith 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, she tried to take her own life by cutting herself with razors, covering her head with a plastic bag, hanging herself with a telephone cable and attempting to drown herself in a bath.

In December 2010, Martin Smith partner was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of 11 specimen charges of rape, attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault.

The jury in that case heard he had used hypnosis, bullying and violence to groom and sexually abuse the girl between May 1995 and May 2004.

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

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