Lianne Smith – ‘I killed my children out of love’
A British woman killed her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel “out of love” for them, a court heard today.
Lianne Smith (aged 45) 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.
She is 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, because Smith’s eldest daughter by her first husband had accused Mr Smith of sexually abusing her.
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 today, 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 had spoken about this with her partner and they had talked about taking their own lives if they were ever separated.
“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. She loved the children.”
Psychiatrist Harry Barker, who treated Smith while she was held in Girona prison, said the defendant saw the deaths of her children as “an unavoidable catastrophe”.
He said she had asked Rebecca if she would prefer to live a few very happy days with her mother or a long time without her mother.
Rebecca replied that she wanted to stay with her mother.
Sandra Liliana Perez, a psychiatrist who treated Smith at the psychiatric unit of Can Brians prison near Barcelona, said she suffers from severe major depressive disorder and psychosis.
She said: “She shows deep pain and suffering and a clear desperation at the loss of the children.”