Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Killer who tortured lover for weeks before murdering her denied parole

EXCLUSIVE Murderer jailed for life in 1997 after torturing his 17-year-old girlfriend for three weeks before drowning her in the bath is denied parole

  • Sadistic James Patterson Smith brutally murdered Kelly-Anne Bates, 17, in 1996 
  • Kelly-Anne was burnt, stabbed and had her eyes gouged out before being killed 
  • Smith, now 74, was jailed for 25 years in 1997 for his crime that outraged the UK
  • Smith was denied parole on Monday with officials saying he was too dangerous  

A sadist who systematically tortured his teenage girlfriend for three weeks before murdering her has been denied parole from prison.

James Patterson Smith, now 74, was also considered too dangerous to be moved to an open prison and will remain in closed conditions.

He was 45 when he met 14-year-old Kelly-Anne Bates and began a relationship that ended in the teenager’s brutal murder in 1996.

Kelly’s case sparked fury across the UK when it emerged she had over 150 separate injuries on her body when she died.

Pathologist William Lawler said it was the worst case of methodical torture he had ever witnessed and he was haunted by the evidence. 

Kelly-Anne Bates was (pictured) brutally tortured and murdered in 1996 by her sadistic boyfriend James Patterson Smith when she was 17

Smith was jailed for life in November 1997 and during the trial it emerged that he had a horrific history of violence towards women.

Sadistic killer James Smith has been refused parole for his brutal murder of his 17-year-old girlfriend, Kelly-Anne Bates in 1996

The brute was given a minimum sentence of 25 years and became eligible for his first parole hearing this year.

MailOnline can now reveal he appeared before a three-person Parole Board in November last year.

Smith gave evidence during the appeal and is believed to have told the panel he is a changed man.

The Parole Board told the killer on Monday that his appeal had been rejected.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of James Smith following an oral hearing. The panel also refused to recommend a move to open prison. 

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

‘A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

‘Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing.

‘Evidence from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements may be given at the hearing. 

Kelly-Anne gets to grips with crutches after injuring herself as a teenager

Flashback: Kelly-Anne and her mother Margaret on holiday in Barry Island, Wales

‘It is standard for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.

‘Under current legislation he will be eligible for a further review in due course. The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.’

Smith’s trial at Manchester Crown Court was one of the most harrowing cases heard there as details emerged of Kelly-Anne’s tormented life.

The jury heard how Kelly-Anne, from Hattersley, Greater Manchester, was a strong and sporty girl who had wanted to be a teacher.

She was at college and worked for a graphics firm.

At 14, while babysitting for a friend, Kelly-Anne met Smith.

He began a grooming process which was so secretive that her parents knew nothing about him for two years.

When Kelly-Anne’s parents Margaret and Thomas finally met Smith, they were distraught at the age difference.

Speaking in 2015, Margaret, who died in 2020, told MailOnline: ‘The first time I met him, he swaggered down the stairs and it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. 

Margaret and Tommy Bates are speaking about their daughter Kelly-Anne’s brutal murder for the first time

Margaret Bates said Kelly-Anne was very maternal and here the teenager feeds a baby

‘He was much older than I expected and this wasn’t the man I wanted for my daughter.

‘I vividly recall seeing our bread knife in the kitchen and wanting to pick it up and stab him in the back.

‘It was a bizarre thought – I would never normally think of anything so violent and now I wonder whether it was some sort of sixth sense.

‘I’ve thought about that many times.’

Mrs Bates called police and social services but because Kelly-Anne was 16 they could not help.

She said: ‘One night she came home and her face was black and blue. Another time, her hand was bruised. I suspected Smith was hitting her, but Kelly-Anne denied it.’

In November 1995, 17-year-old Kelly-Anne moved in with Smith who lived in Gorton, Manchester.

She spoke to her parents most weeks on the phone, when Smith was present, but never saw them again.

On April 17, 1996, Smith went to Gorton police station and said that he had accidently killed his girlfriend during an argument in the bath, claiming that she had inhaled water.

Police attended Smith’s address and found Kelly-Anne’s naked body in a bedroom. They found blood in every room of the house and a post-mortem examination revealed the extent of her injuries.

The court was told that during the last month of her life she had been kept bound in the house, sometimes tied by her hair to radiators or chairs and at other times with a ligature around her neck. 

Margaret Bates and her only daughter Kelly-Anne as a baby

Kelly-Anne and her brothers Andrew and Paul have some fun on the beach

William Lawler, the Home Office pathologist who examined her body said: ‘In my career, I have examined almost 600 bodies of victims of homicide but I have never come across injuries so extensive.’

The injuries listed to the court included: multiple stab wounds caused by knives, forks and scissors, both eyes gouged out, partial scalping and mutilation to her ears, nose, eyebrows, mouth, lips and genitalia.

Peter Openshaw, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘It was as if he deliberately disfigured her, causing her the utmost pain, distress and degradation.

‘The injuries were not the result of one sudden eruption of violence, they must have been caused over a long period (and) were so extensive and so terrible that the defendant must have deliberately and systematically tortured the girl.’

The cause of Kelly-Anne’s death was given as drowning, but immediately before death she had been beaten about the head with a shower head.

Smith denied murder but the jury took just one hour to find him guilty.

Sentencing him, the judge Mr Justice Sachs said: ‘This has been a terrible case; a catalogue of depravity by one human being upon another.

‘You are a highly dangerous person. You are an abuser of women and I intend, so far as it is in my power, that you will abuse no more.’

The jury was provided with professional counselling to help them deal with the distress of seeing the photographs of Kelly-Anne’s injuries. They all accepted.

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