Lianne Smith trial: North East mum awaiting verdict of Spanish jury

A JURY will retire today to deliberate whether North East mum Lianne Smith should be jailed for the "abominable" killing of her young children in a Spanish hotel room.

Lianne Smith in the Spanish court

A JURY will retire today to deliberate whether North East mum Lianne Smith should be jailed for the "abominable" killing of her young children in a Spanish hotel room.

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

The jury of eight men and three women will decide at the Provincial Court in Girona, North East Spain, 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”.

Prosecutor Victor Pillado Quintas said yesterday that he acknowledges Smith suffered a “pathological emotional dependence and a psychotic disorder which impaired her faculties”. Instead of a total of 38 years in prison for counts of murder, he is now asking for 34.

But Mr Pillado Quintas continues to argue that Smith is criminally responsible for the deaths of Rebecca and Daniel.

He said: “I do not think there is a more abominable act than ending the life of a small child. But if there is something which is even more horrid, more vile, more despicable than taking the life of a small child, it is that a mother should take the life of her own small child. All the prosecution wants is for justice to be done.”

Jenifer Lahoz Abos, for the defence, said Smith was facing the most “painful and hard” circumstances a person can come up against.

“These was a reprehensible incident, there can be no doubt,” she said. “But you are here to impartially judge a person who was suffering a mental illness, who was living in a different reality and in a psychotic state when she carried out these acts.”

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 her partner was deported to the UK, Smith thought British social services were in Spain to take her children away from her.

Giving evidence yesterday, forensic psychiatrist Itziar Idiaquez Alberdi, who has interviewed Smith four times, said: “She believed the children would be taken away from her and institutionalised. For her this was worse than death. She was living in permanent fear of what might happen.

“She was convinced that it was the best thing she could do. She killed them out of love.”

During the trial, the jury heard that, after killing the children, Smith tried to take her own life.

It was also revealed that tests to determine whether Martin Smith was Rebecca and Daniel’s biological father showed he was not.

In December 2010, he was found guilty of 11 counts of rape, attempted rape and indecent assault after a trial. He was jailed for 16 years, but was found hanging in prison in January.

Originally from North Shields, he had been a singer in clubs in the North East before working as a TV psychic. He and Lianne lived in a caravan in Northumberland before moving to Cumbria. They moved to Lichfield in 2007 before fleeing to Spain.

 

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