Invisible Children

Sarah, Chris, Rebecca, and Daniel Smith

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

sarah richardson rebecca and daniel smith
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abuse of Sarah began in May 1995, shortly after the family had moved to a remote area in Cumbria, UK and Lianne had withdrawn her children from school to homeschool them.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
Cumbria, UK; Barcelona, Spain


Documents: Date:
Betrayed by my killer mother: Woman who smothered toddlers in a Spanish hotel callously ignored sex abuse of eldest girl by TV hypnotist lover 03-12-2011
Death Of Martin Smith Nothing Less Than Murder 01-26-2012
Lianne Smith found guilty of murdering children: timeline 06-21-2012
“She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison”: Daughter of double child killer Lianne Smith tells of being raped by her stepfather and how her mother blames her 06-24-2012
“She looks so cold”: Lianne Smith’s son says he will never forgive her for murdering his brother and sister 06-25-2012
Lianne Angela SMITH 07-03-2012