Lianne Smith guilty of child murders in Spain

Lianne Smith
Image caption Lianne Smith had admitted smothering her children to death

A British woman has been found guilty of murdering her two children in a hotel room in Spain.

Lianne Smith, 45, originally from Tyneside, had admitted smothering Rebecca, five, and 11-month-old Daniel in Lloret de Mar in May 2010.

Her defence sought an acquittal, claiming she was "psychiatrically disturbed".

But the jury at the Provincial Court in Girona decided that she was criminally responsible for murdering the children.

After the verdict was given, prosecutor Victor Pillado Quintas, asked for Smith to be jailed for a total of 34 years.

Speaking outside the courthouse, he said: "Justice has been done, these were abominable crimes."

Earlier, Jenifer Lahoz Abos, for the defence, asked the judge to consider Smith's admission as a mitigating factor and give a sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison.

'Unavoidable catastrophe'

Judge Adolfo Garcia Morales is expected to release a written sentence in the next few weeks.

Image caption Rebecca Smith was taken to Spain by her mother in 2007

The deaths happened a few days after Smith's partner, Martin Smith, was extradited to the UK on charges of sexually abusing her eldest daughter from another relationship.

Following the deportation, Smith thought British social services were in Spain to take her children away from her.

She told a psychiatrist she killed them "out of love" but the prosecution described the murders as "abominable".

Psychiatrist Harry Barker treated Smith in Girona prison.

During the four-day court hearing, he recalled how Smith told him she had asked Rebecca if she would prefer to live a few very happy days with her mother or a long time without her and Rebecca had replied that she wanted to stay with her mother.

He added Smith saw the deaths of her children as "an unavoidable catastrophe".

'Vile, despicable'

Prosecutor Victor Pillado Quintas agreed that she was suffering "pathological emotional dependence and a psychotic disorder which impaired her faculties" but argued that she was criminally responsible for the deaths.

"I do not think there is a more abominable act than ending the life of a small child," he said.

Image caption Martin Smith was convicted of rape and later hanged himself in prison

"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."

The hearing had previously heard that she had tried to take her own life after the deaths.

Lianne Smith met Martin Smith in North Tyneside in 1992, while she was going through a divorce.

They lived together in a caravan in Northumberland with her daughter and son from the earlier marriage.

Later they moved to Cumbria where she worked at the county council's children's services department.

The couple, who share the same surname but were not married, briefly moved to Lichfield, Staffordshire, then left for Spain in 2007 with Rebecca, after Lianne Smith's eldest daughter accused Martin Smith of sexual abuse.

Following his extradition, he was convicted of rape, sentenced to 16 years and in January was found hanged in his cell.

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