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James Patterson SMITH





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Torture over a period of four weeks. The pathologist who examined Bates' body, described her injuries as "the worst he had seen on a murder victim"
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 16, 1996
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1948
Victim profile: Kelly Anne Bates, 17
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 20 years) on November 19, 1997

Murder of Kelly Anne Bates

Kelly Anne Bates (c. 1979 16 April 1996) was an English teenager who was murdered in Manchester on 16 April 1996 when aged 17. She was tortured over a period of four weeks, including having her eyes gouged from their sockets up to three weeks before her death, by her partner James Patterson Smith (born c. 1948) before being drowned in a bathtub.

The murder inquiry was headed by Detective Sergeant Joseph Monaghan of Greater Manchester Police, who said: "I have been in the police force for 15 years and have never seen a case as horrific as this." William Lawler, the pathologist who examined Bates' body, described her injuries as "the worst he had seen on a murder victim". Smith, a misogynist with a history of violence and torture against former lovers, denied murdering Bates but was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 19 November 1997.


James Smith was an unemployed divorcee living in Gorton, Manchester. Described by acquaintances as "house-proud and well-groomed", he was a teetotaller and non-smoker. His marriage had ended after ten years in 1980 due to his violence towards his wife.

He had then commenced an affair between 19801982 with 20-year-old Tina Watson, whom he "used as a punch-bag", even subjecting her to severe beatings while she was pregnant with his child. Watson managed to escape from the relationship, during which Smith had also attempted to drown her while she was bathing.

In 1982 Smith then began a statutory rape relationship with 15-year old Wendy Mottershead, who was also a victim of his violence. In one attack he held her head under water in the kitchen sink in an attempt to drown her.

In 1993, Smith began another statutory rape relationship with Kelly Bates while she was only 14 years old. Approximately two years later, when she left school, Bates moved in with Smith at his home in Furnival Road, Gorton. She had concealed the relationship from her parents. Bates' mother said of her first meeting with Smith after the two began living together: "As soon as I saw Smith the hairs on the back of my neck went up. I tried everything I could to get Kelly Anne away from him."

Although she had left Smith briefly because of arguments, in November 1995 she was once more living with him in Furnival Road. Her parents had noticed bruising which she explained away as the results of accidents. She became increasingly withdrawn and in December 1995 resigned from her part-time job. In March 1996 her parents received cards purportedly from her for their anniversary and a birthday, although only Smith had written in them. When Bates' brother tried to see her at the house, Smith said she was not at home. When a concerned neighbour asked after her, she was briefly shown at an upstairs window.


On 17 April 1996 Smith presented at a police station and said that he had accidentally killed his girlfriend during an argument in the bath, claiming that she had inhaled bathwater and died despite his attempts to resuscitate her.

Police attended Smith's address and found Bates' naked body in a bedroom. Bates' blood was found in every room of the house, and a post-mortem examination revealed over 150 separate injuries on her body. 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. William Lawler, the Home Office pathologist who examined her body, said: "In my career, I have examined almost 600 victims of homicide but I have never come across injuries so extensive." The injuries included:

  • scalding to her buttocks and left leg;

  • burns on her thigh caused by the application of a hot iron;

  • a fractured arm;

  • multiple stab wounds caused by knives, forks and scissors;

  • stab wounds inside her mouth;

  • crush injuries to both hands;

  • mutilation of her ears, nose, eyebrows, mouth, lips and genitalia;

  • wounds caused by a spade and pruning shears; \

  • both eyes gouged out;

  • later stab wounds to the empty eye sockets;

  • partial scalping.

The pathologist determined that her eyes had been removed "not less than five days and not more than three weeks before her death". She had been starved, losing around 20 kg in weight, and had not received water for several days before her death.

Peter Openshaw, the prosecutor in Smith's trial, said: "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 death was drowning, immediately prior to which she had been beaten about the head with a shower head. Openshaw said: "Her death must have been a merciful end to her torment".


Smith denied murder and claimed Bates "would put me through hell winding me up". He also claimed that Bates had "taunted him" about his dead mother and had "a bad habit of hurting herself to make it look worse on me". When asked to explain why he had blinded, stabbed and battered Bates, he said she had dared him to do it, challenging him to do her harm.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court took one hour to find 49-year-old Smith guilty of Bates' murder. Sentencing him to life imprisonment the judge, Mr. Justice Sachs, recommended that Smith should serve a minimum term of 20 years. He stated: "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 Bates' injuries and the "sickening violence" of the case.


Man who tortured girlfriend for a month jailed for minimum of 20 years

Agence France-Presse

Wed, 19 Nov 1997

LONDON, Nov 20 (AFP) - A sadist who systematically tortured his 17-year-old girlfriend for up to a month before drowning her in the bath was jailed for a minimum of 20 years Wednesday.

James Patterson Smith, 49, was found guilty of murdering Kelly Anne Bates at the home they shared in Gorton, Greater Manchester, in the north west.

He had gouged out her eyes, probably with his hands, up to three weeks before her death and stabbed her in the face and body with scissors and forks, Manchester Crown Court heard.

A post-mortem revealed she had 150 separate injuries. She had a fractured arm, and had been scalded, branded with a domestic iron and partially scalped.

In the four weeks leading to her death she was kept a prisoner. Rendered helpless after being blinded, she had been kept without food tied by her hair to a radiator in an upstairs bedroom.



Teen girl 'horrifically tortured before her murder'

November 12, 1997

A 17-YEAR-old girl was "deliberately and systematically tortured" by her 49-year-old boyfriend for up to four weeks before she was murdered, a court in Britain was told yesterday.

Kelly Anne Bates had 150 separate injuries to her body. Her eyes had been gouged out; and she had been stabbed, burned, scalded, partially scalped and starved of food before drowning in a bath.

Police found her naked body in the upstairs bedroom of her boyfriend's house in Gorton, Greater Manchester.

James Patterson Smith, unemployed, denies murder.

The jury heard how Kelly, 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.

Kelly had started a secretive relationship with Smith when she was 14 or 15.

Although she feared her parents' disappointment in the age difference, she eventually moved in with Smith at his two-bedroom semi-detached house in Furnival Road, Gorton. She briefly split up with him but returned to the home in November 1995.

Her parents, Margaret and Thomas, had become increasingly concerned about her welfare and noticed bruises and a bite mark which she passed off as an accident.

At Christmas she gave up her job and her mother noted she was sometimes strange during telephone conversations.

In March, Kelly failed to sign cards for her parents' wedding anniversary and for her father's birthday.

Mr Openshaw said: "The family heard nothing more from her after those cards in March. Little is known about the last month in her life. She was, in effect, a prisoner in her home."

On April 16, Smith went to Gorton Police Station and said he had killed his girlfriend.

He told officers that during an argument, while she was in the bath, she had swallowed water. He said she often pretended to be unconscious but he had been back two or three times to check.

Pc Tracy Turner told the court how Smith had said "I've killed her. I know I have."

He told another officer: "I know I'm going away. I know there is no point. I'm going to get found out anyway."

A pathologist, Dr William Lowler, told the court that although he had examined 600 murder victims, he had never seen any with so many injuries of such varied age.

The trial, which was adjourned until today, is expected to last 10 days.



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