A British mother who suffocated her two children in a Spanish hotel is said to have been “astonishingly calm” when she showed their bodies to police. The 45-year-old, Lianne Smith, has admitted to smothering 11-month-old Daniel and 5-year-old Rebecca with a plastic bag at Miramar Hotel in Lloret de Mar in May of 2010. The officers who reported to the scene have all agreed that she appeared calm when confessing to the murders the day after committing them. She is now seeking an acquittal on claims that she was in a state of “psychiatric disturbance”.
A Spanish court watched Smith as she calmly describe in a police interview how she killed her two children after treating them to a beach holiday. In a video interview, she demonstrated how she used a plastic shopping bag to suffocate Daniel and Rebecca in their hotel beds. She drew the bag closed around Daniel’s neck when he struggled for breath and didn’t stop squeezing until he died. Then she did the same to Rebecca before cuddling them both and spending the night next to their bodies. She says she tried to commit suicide before telling the hotel receptionist to call the police.
Agent 504 of Lloret de Mar local police was the first officer on the scene. He says that he closed the door when he entered the hotel room and told Smith to stay still. She pointed to the bed, and that’s when he saw the little knuckles of the baby pointing out from the sheets. Then he found the little girl and could see they were both dead. Smith was calm, he added, and she wasn’t saying anything, so he went to the balcony to call the control room to let them know what was going on.
Agent 2681 of the Mossos d’Esquadra – the regional police force in Catalan – was sent to the room when the murder investigation became underway. He saw two double beds side-by-side when he entered the room and could see the outline of two kids’ bodies under the sheets. They immediately decided that the room needed to be closed for forensic evidence to be gathered. Smith was sitting in the hall of the hotel and constantly fixing herself – tying and untying the neckerchief she had on. She was given her rights in Spanish and arrested.
When asked if he remembers saying in a previous statement that Smith looked to be in a “catatonic state”, Agent 2681 said that he wasn’t a psychologist and wouldn’t have been able to decide her mental state. He accepted that he had described her this way after Judge Adolfo Garcia Morales was shown his previous statement by the Defence, Jenifer Lahoz Abos. The officer added that he was shocked by the woman’s attitude – how calm and cold she was.
Anna Savelieva, the Miramar Hotel’s receptionist, also appeared in court to testify that Smith went down to reception and asked her to call an ambulance and police. Anna asked her if she needed help, and Smith said just to call the police and she would talk to them. The receptionist added that Smith was calm as she made the request.
Smith says she killed her kids because she was afraid social services would take them from her after her partner – television psychic Martin Smith – was arrested on child sex charges. The couple wasn’t married and fled to Spain in December 2007. In May 2010, Martin was found and deported to the UK to stand trial. He was then convicted of raping Sarah Richardson (24), Smith’s daughter from a previous relationship, repeatedly when she was a child. After he was jailed last year, Sarah waived her anonymity. Last January, Martin hanged himself in prison.
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