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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
A mother who killed her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel room was "astonishingly calm" when she showed police their bodies, a court heard.
Lianne Smith, 45, has admitted smothering five-year-old Rebecca and 11-month-old Daniel with a plastic bag at the Miramar Hotel in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in May 2010.
She is on trial at the Provincial Court in Girona, north-east Spain, so a jury can determine whether she is criminally responsible for the children’s deaths.
Her defence is seeking an acquittal, claiming she was in a state of "psychiatric disturbance" and suffering insurmountable fear when the tragedy happened.
If found guilty, she faces 38 years in prison.
The police officers, who were identified to the court by their badge numbers as is customary in Spain, all agreed Smith seemed calm when she confessed to the killings the day after carrying them out.
The first officer at the scene, Agent 504 of Lloret de Mar local police, said he was sent to the Miramar after a call from the hotel’s reception.
A guest staying in Room 101 had asked for police and an ambulance to be called, he said.
He described the moment he entered the room, saying: "I closed the door and told the woman to stay still.
"She just pointed to the bed, and I saw little knuckles, a baby’s knuckles, pointing out from under the sheets.
"First I found a baby and then a little girl, and I could see they were both dead.
"The woman was calm, she was not saying anything, so I went out on the balcony and called the control room to let them know what was happening."
Agent 2681 from the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan regional police force, was sent to the room when it became apparent that a murder investigation was under way.
"Instantly we decided that the room should be closed so forensic investigations could be carried out."
In the meantime, Smith was sitting in the hotel hallway and was "constantly fixing herself up, tying and untying a neckerchief," the agent said.
She was informed of her rights in Spanish and placed under arrest.
Asked by Jenifer Lahoz Abos, for the defence, whether he remembered saying in his original statement that Smith seemed to be in a "catatonic state", the officer replied that he was not a psychologist and would not have been able to determine her mental state.
"I was shocked by her attitude, the astonishing calmness and coldness she displayed," he said.
The court heard that after killing the children on May 17, Smith tried to take her own life by cutting herself with razors, covering her head with a plastic bag, hanging herself with telephone cable and drowning in a bath.
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