The husband of a Blackpool mother who killed her two children was found hanged in a Strangeways cell with a letter from his wife near his body.
Convicted sex offender Martin Smith, 46, the husband of murderer Lianne Smith, was discovered by prison officers after eating his evening meal last January, an inquest heard.
They battled to resuscitate him but he died. Near his body they found a letter from his ex-education officer wife Lianne, formerly of Milbourne Road, Blackpool.
It was sent from a Spanish prison where she is serving 30 years for killing the couple’s two children in Spain, where they had fled before his trial could begin.
Coroner Nigel Meadows told the jury that in 2007 Mr Smith was accused of serious sex offences. But after a police investigation he failed to answer bail, fleeing the country in 2008 with his wife and daughter. Their son was born in Spain in 2009.
When Smith was found and successfully extradited to the UK, Mrs Smith killed their two children. He was told of their deaths – and of his wife’s prosecution – while awaiting trial in a Durham prison.
Mr Meadows told the court: “They were initially concerned he would harm himself after he disclosed that he had tried to take his own life while in custody in Spain.”
Mr Smith was regularly reviewed by a team of medics and psychiatrists who said he was suffering from ‘normal grief reaction’.
In November 2010, Mr Smith was transferred to Strangeways where regular psychiatric assessments continued and he was considered at ‘high risk’ of self-harm. He told officers he was frustrated by his lack of contact with his wife in Spain and was twice admitted to the health care unit. He tried to cut himself and told medics he had also tried to choke himself.
Mr Meadows said: “The triggers were lack of contact with his wife and the stress and anxiety of sharing a cell.”
By January 2012, experts assessed him as being at low risk of self harm after a steady period. But on January 23 at 6.25pm, an officer unlocked his cell to find him hanged on a bunk bed.
Staff and a doctor battled to save him. He was declared dead at 7pm.
Also found was a calendar opened at January, with ‘received letter from Lianne’ marked on the 23rd. The inquest at Manchester Crown Square heard that books were found in Mr Smith’s cell connected with his interests in ‘spiritualism’ associated with his being a ‘clairvoyant’.