Sarah Richardson (b. 1988, left) and her brother Chris Smith (b. 1990, second from left) were physically abused by their stepfather, TV hypnotist Martin Smith, who also subjected Sarah to systematic sexual abuse for a decade. Their mother, child services employee Lianne Smith, knew about the abuse but did nothing. After Sarah reported the abuse to the police and Martin was arrested, Lianne murdered her two younger children (pictured at right), Rebecca (b. 2004) and Daniel (b. 2009), to prevent them from being taken by child services. Lianne homeschooled her children and was a “Regional Advisor for the home education group Education Otherwise.”
Sarah and Chris’s biological father, John Hope, left the family in 1991. Martin Smith moved in with Lianne in 1992 and began beating Sarah and Chris almost immediately. His sexual abuse of Sarah began in May 1995, shortly after the family had moved to a remote area in Cumbria, UK and Lianne had withdrawn her children from school to homeschool them. Though Sarah repeatedly reported the abuse to her mother, Lianne refused to believe her. Not long after Rebecca was born in 2004, Sarah left home to attend university, and Chris was kicked out at age 16. Sarah, afraid that Smith would start abusing Rebecca, contacted police in November 2007 to report the sexual abuse. Martin and Lianne Smith responded by fleeing with Rebecca to Barcelona, Spain, where Lianne later gave birth to Daniel.
In May 2010, Spanish police finally tracked Martin down and arrested him. Lianne fled again with the children to Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain, where she suffocated Rebecca and Daniel and then attempted suicide. Martin Smith was found guilty of rape and hanged himself in prison. Lianne Smith was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Date: May 17, 2010
Location: Cumbria, UK; Barcelona, Spain Continue reading