Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

'Perfect holiday' before killing

Lianne Smith, who killed her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel room, has gone on trial

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 has heard.

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 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, 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.

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.

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