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Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 18:50 UK

Children found dead in Spain - father on sex charges

Lianne Smith and her daughter Rebecca
Lianne Smith and her daughter had been reported missing since 2007

The partner of a British woman being held on the Costa Brava over the deaths of their two children has appeared in court on child sex offences.

Martin Smith, 45, of North Shields, was remanded in custody at Carlisle Magistrates' Court until 7 June.

Lianne Smith, 43, is being held in Spain on suspicion of murdering Rebecca, five, and 11-month-old Daniel.

Mr Smith, who faces unrelated charges, was told on Tuesday their children had been found in a hotel in Lloret de Mar.

Mother questioned

He was extradited from Spain this week over 13 charges of sexual offences against a girl aged between seven and 18 and for failing to answer police bail.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Lloret de Mar said Mr Smith had been arrested in Barcelona on 7 May.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith faces 13 sex offence charges against a girl under 18

He was charged with six counts of gross indecency with or towards a girl aged under 16 between 1995 and 2001; six counts of rape of a girl aged under 16 between 2001 and 2005 and one count of attempted rape of a girl under the age of 16 between 1997 and 2001.

Wearing a blue top, he confirmed his name and date of birth but gave no plea. He will appear at Carlisle Crown Court next month.

Spanish police found the children's bodies shortly before 1400 local time on Tuesday in a room at the four-star Hotel Miramar in the resort in the north-eastern province of Girona.

The discovery came after Mrs Smith asked the hotel reception desk for help.

According to our correspondent, the hotel's receptionist said Mrs Smith told her she needed to speak to the police and had appeared calm before returning to her room.

AT THE SCENE
Sarah Rainsford
By Sarah Rainsford, BBC News,
Lloret de Mar

Room 101 at the Miramar hotel is closed with a police seal - the main outward sign that this seafront hotel in the popular Spanish resort of Lloret de Mar now contains a crime scene.

There's also a small bunch of white flowers and a pink teddy bear on the pavement outside with a note that says "RIP little ones. God has gained 2 angels."

Inside, staff are still shaken by what's happened.

At about 0930 local time yesterday morning, the cleaner on duty noticed a "do not disturb" sign on the hotel room door.

At around 1400, the woman staying in that room, Lianne Smith, came down to reception and asked staff to call the police and an ambulance.

"She seemed calm and cold, she was not hysterical," Anna, the receptionist says.

"But when I looked into her eyes I could see something serious had happened."

Mrs Smith has been moved to the town of Blanes where she is being questioned by police.

Police have 72 hours from the time of arrest before they must present their case to a magistrate who will decide whether to press charges.

Police said there were no outward signs of violence but officers have not confirmed reports in Spanish newspapers that the children were suffocated.

Reports Ms Smith had given a confession had also not been confirmed by police, our correspondent added.

A post-mortem examination is expected to take place on Thursday.

The room where the bodies were found remains sealed off, although the hotel has reopened.

Police said the family were on holiday in the resort, which is a popular destination for British holidaymakers.

The receptionist told the BBC the family had been at the resort since Saturday and daughter Rebecca would often wave to the workers.

Estonian tourist Siiri Sonajalg, 47, who was also staying at the hotel, said she was shocked.

"The hotel and police didn't tell us anything. I didn't sleep very well last night because I was just wondering what the mother was feeling when she woke up that morning.

Map of Spain showing Lloret de Mar

"I feel very sad. I keep thinking about what happened."

Mrs Smith and her daughter were reported missing from the Staffordshire area in December 2007.

Staffordshire Police said shortly before this time the pair had moved to Lichfield from Cumbria.

In a statement they said: "Our officers have worked closely with Staffordshire Social Services, Cumbria Police and, once it was established that the family were believed to be abroad, Interpol and other law enforcement agencies to trace the family."

The year the family went missing, Mr Smith had appeared on the television programme Most Haunted as a guest psychic investigating alleged paranormal occurrences at Brougham Hall near Penrith.



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