Tuesday July 03 2012
A British woman who murdered her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel room has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Lianne Smith, 45, had admitted smothering 11-month-old Daniel and five-year-old Rebecca with a plastic bag at the Miramar Hotel in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in May 2010.
In a written sentence issued to the media, Judge Adolfo Garcia Morales jailed Smith for 15 years for each of the murders. It comes after a jury at the Provincial Court in Girona, north east Spain, decided last month that Smith, originally from Tyneside, was criminally responsible for the children's deaths.
At the conclusion of the trial, prosecutor Victor Pillado Quintas asked for Smith to be sentenced to 34 years in prison.
Her defence sought an acquittal, claiming she was in a state of "psychiatric disturbance" and suffering insurmountable fear when the tragedy happened.
Judge Garcia Morales said he was imposing the minimum sentence for murder because he considered that, although responsible for her actions, Smith was suffering a degree of "mental disturbance" when she committed the crimes.
He wrote: "The jury stressed that this mental disturbance was not as important as the defence had argued.
"This was based on facts such as several suicide attempts made by Smith, a statement she gave during which she appeared normal and did not make any significant mistakes as she described what had happened and how it happened, the composition of several coherent notes, and calculations she made in order to pay what she believed she still owed to the hotel."
The judge also dismissed the defence's claim that Smith had been suffering "insurmountable fear" when she murdered her children because she feared British social services would take them away from her.
He wrote: "It would have been consequent with insurmountable fear if she had attacked or even killed the members of English social services who she felt were threatening to take her children away. It is illogical that out of insurmountable fear of losing her children she decided to kill them.