British mother charged with murdering her 2 children in Spain

By Harold Heckle, AP
Friday, May 21, 2010

UK mother charged with murdering 2 kids in Spain

MADRID — A British woman was charged Friday with murdering her two children, aged 11 months and 5, by suffocating them with a plastic bag in a Spanish hotel room hours after her husband had been extradited to face child sex abuse charges in Britain.

Judge Rafael Fernandez, of Court No. 2 in the northeastern town of Blanes, issued a murder indictment against 43-year-old Lianne Smith, saying she had confessed to killing her son and daughter Tuesday in the seaside resort town of Lloret de Mar.

“Mrs. Smith acknowledges she ended the lives of her children by asphyxiating them, having stuck their heads inside a plastic bag,” Fernandez said in the indictment. He also denied her bail, saying there was a “very high risk” she could flee.

Smith allegedly killed the children two weeks after Spanish police arrested her 45-year-old husband, Martin Smith, who was extradited Tuesday to Britain to face 13 counts of child sex abuse charges there and one charge of skipping bail. The charges do not involve his children.

Media reports in Spain quoted officials as saying the mother may have feared her children were going to be taken away from her by authorities because of her husband’s arrest, and photos showed bandages around her wrists, suggesting she may have attempted suicide after allegedly killing her children.

The mother had asked hotel staff on Tuesday to call police and an ambulance to the room in Lloret de Mar. Police then discovered the bodies of 5-year-old Rebecca and 11-month-old Daniel.

The Smiths and Rebecca had been considered missing persons in Britain since Martin skipped bail in 2008, according to police in England.

Police said they discovered the family in Spain after working with Interpol and other law enforcement agencies to find them.

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