Lianne Smith jailed for murdering her children in Spain

image captionLianne Smith had admitted smothering her children to death

A British woman who murdered her two children in a Spanish hotel room has been jailed for 30 years.

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

During her trial in June her defence claimed she was "psychiatrically disturbed".

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

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 claimed she thought British social services had arrived in Spain to take her children away from her.

The four-day court hearing heard evidence from psychiatrist Harry Barker, who treated her in Girona prison.

Suicide attempts

He said 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.

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

image captionMartin Smith was convicted of rape and later hanged himself in prison

In a written statement issued to the media, Judge Adolfo Garcia Morales jailed her for 15 years for each of the murders.

It said that 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."

Lianne Smith met Mr 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 were not married, briefly moved to Lichfield in Staffordshire and 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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