A British woman who moved to Spain in 2007, killed her two children in a hotel room there and spent the night with the bodies. Lianne Smith admitted to smothering her 5-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son in May 2010. Today was the first day of her trial on two counts of murder. She could face 19 years in prison for each murder if found guilty.
Back in 2010, Smith’s partner, Martin Smith, was charged with raping an underage girl and extradited to Britain. He was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in prison for rape, attempted rape, and indecent exposure. Just this past January, he hung himself in his jail cell. It is not known whether he was the father of Ms. Smith’s two children.
Lianne Smith was reportedly distraught after Martin Smith’s arrest. Less than two weeks later, she took her children on a trip to Hotel Miramar in Lloret de Mar, Spain, and killed them as they went to bed at 9pm on May 17th. In his opening statement, Proescutor Victor Pillado Quintas described the crime as follows:
“Knowing full well that their young age and the surprising nature of her behaviour would not allow them to react, more so since they were asleep, and taking advantage of the trust the children would have had in their mother, she took her son in her arms and put a [plastic] bag over his head, closing it around his neck. 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.”
At 1:30pm the next day, Smith asked the reception desk at the hotel to call an ambulance and admitted to the crime. Jurors are being asked to consider whether or not Smith was suffering from a psychotic break when she killed her children. If so, she could be acquitted on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
She claimed she was afraid the children would be taken by Social Services and returned to England. Ms. Smith’s lawyer, Jenifer Lahoz Abos, says that after the murder Smith wrote four notes — one to her children, telling them she loved them — and tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists, suffocating herself, and trying to strangle herself with a telephone cord, but failed in all attempts. In a video shot by police the day after the murders, Smith said, ”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.”
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