I still love him, 'child killer' tells trial of boyfriend on paedophile charges

She was calm at first, almost matter of fact.

In a soft, clear voice, Lianne Smith insisted she still loved her long-time partner, even though he is in court on paedophile charges.

She faltered only occasionally and if she had any tears, she didn’t let them spill.
Occasionally she would smile; once she even laughed.

Lianne Smith with her son Daniel

Lianne Smith with her son Daniel. She is in custody in Spain accused of killing him and her five-year-old daughter Rebecca

It was when she started to talk about her children that her remarkable composure broke.

The 44-year-old explained to a jury yesterday that she had moved to Spain with her partner Martin Smith three years ago to keep their two-year-old daughter from the clutches of social services.

She did it to ‘protect’ her, she said, using the word completely without irony.

What she failed to explain was that shortly after Smith was arrested on child sex charges last May, she was in a Costa Brava hotel room with the little girl and her baby brother lying dead on the bed beside her.

Soon she will face her own trial in Spain, accused not of protecting them, but of murdering them.

Yesterday she never once mentioned their deaths. 

Instead, for the first time in public, the former education officer came to the defence of the former TV psychic as he faced a string of rape and sexual abuse charges.

Speaking by video link to Manchester Crown Court from an anonymous location in Spain, Miss Smith insisted he was ‘the friendly, generous kind’ and that she never had any concerns about him, nor about any inappropriate behaviour with young girls.

The Hotel Miramar in Lloret de Mar

Miss Smith's children were found dead in the Hotel Miramar on the Costa Brava

If he were ever to have been violent towards her, she said, she would have ended the relationship.

And yes, she told the jury, she did still love him.

Rarely can two individuals facing such serious charges have come together like this in a single, unlinked court case, albeit a thousand miles apart.

In Manchester, 45-year-old Smith sat flanked by custody officers in front of the screen that relayed her testimony.

In Spain, Lianne Smith adjusted her handcuffs, folded her hands in her lap – then looked directly at the camera to answer questions from defence and prosecution lawyers.

Even through the grainy, black-and-white images, it was possible to see she was wearing make-up.

Her long dark hair was in much the same style as it was last May, when she took a series of heartbreaking snapshots of the ‘wonderful holiday’ she had organised for her children Rebecca, then five, and Daniel, 11 months.

They didn’t know it then, but it would be their final hours together.

They were found suffocated soon afterwards in a Lloret de Mar hotel.

The Manchester jurors have already been made aware of Lianne Smith’s circumstances – but told by the judge this is a trial of Martin Smith, not Lianne.

Nor was the defendant linked to the children’s deaths. Thus, Lianne Smith appeared before them only as a witness, called by the defence and cross-examined by the prosecution.

During several hours of evidence, she told how she had met Smith through a dating agency while going through divorce. They had since been together for 18 years.

‘Martin, from the very first day, always seemed to be the most honest person I have ever known,’ she said.

‘We could talk about everything and anything.’

Smith, who worked at Butlins and as an on-board entertainer on ferries, was also a singer with a band playing clubs in the North East of England.

Miss Smith had practised ‘energy healing’ and studied for an Open University degree in education and social work.

The couple left the UK in December 2007 when Smith was accused of child sex offences, which he denies.

Martin Smith

Groomed: Smith in a picture to publicise his career as a spiritualist

Asked why they went, she told the court that Staffordshire social services had threatened to take Rebecca from them, adding that social workers ‘had a mission to take our daughter off us’.

Choking with emotion now, she added: ‘From the start, the two social workers were unprofessional. I believe they had an agenda to remove Becky from us whatever the outcome.’

Martin Smith, originally from North Shields, is accused of using hypnotism and violence to groom, rape and sexually abuse a young girl.

He was extradited to the UK from Spain earlier this year.

He has denied three counts of rape, three counts of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child.

Miss Smith, speaking with a faint northern accent, described allegations made by the girl, now in her 20s, as ‘absolute fiction’.

The case continues.

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