Kelly Anne

James Patterson Smith told police on April 16, 1996 that his teenage girlfriend Kelly Anne Bates drowned by accident. However, the horrific injuries discovered on her body suggested torture and murder far worse than they could have imagined.

Margaret Bates returned to her home in Hattersley, England one day to find her 16-year-old daughter Kelly Anne in the kitchen. Kelly Anne, unbeknownst to her mother, had brought her boyfriend home for the first time. Then, the sound of footsteps on the stairs was followed by the entrance of the boyfriend, James Patterson Smith.

Kelly Anne

Margaret was shocked to discover that Smith was in his mid-forties. No mother would approve of their daughter dating someone so much older than her. However, for Margaret it went beyond that. Smith was deeply offensive in some manner.

This was not the type of man I desired for my daughter. “I distinctly recall seeing our bread knife in the kitchen and wanting to grab it and stab him in the back,” she said in a subsequent interview. Margaret would later come to regret her decision not to stab Smith on the spot, as her daughter’s relationship with James Patterson Smith would soon end with him torturing and murdering her so brutally that the court ordered counselling for the jurors in his trial.

The couple had met in 1993, when Kelly Anne Bates was 14 years old, and had kept their affair from her mother until that fateful moment in the kitchen.

In November 1995, shortly after the kitchen meeting, Kelly Anne moved in with the unemployed Smith in Gorton. Her parents made the decision, despite their scepticism, on the condition that she maintains regular contact. However, over the subsequent months, their once outgoing daughter became reclusive. In addition, her parents noticed abrasions on her arms when she made an atypical visit.

kelly anne

James Patterson Smith had a long history of mistreating the women with whom he lived. His first marriage ended with allegations of physical abuse. And other women Smith had dated shared the same accounts. Even once, he tried to drown his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Smith’s treatment of Kelly Anne Bates was identical to his treatment of other women, as he regularly struck her. After a few months, however, the abuse reached a horrifying new level.

The true extent of the abuse was not revealed until April 16, 1996, when Smith walked into the Gorton Police Station and confessed that he had accidentally murdered Kelly Anne Bates by drowning her during an argument while she was in the bathtub (how precisely he framed this as an accident to police stays unclear).

The pathologist who examined the body discovered over 150 injuries that occurred over a minimum of one month. In the weeks leading up to her death, Smith was ravenous for Bates and even had her hair tied to a radiator. She had been burned with a hot iron, suffocated, and stabbed in the legs, torso, and mouth dozens of times. Smith disfigured her by slashing her head, face, and genitalia with a variety of instruments, including snipping shears. Even her eyes had been gouged out at least five days before he drowned her to death in the bathtub.

The case proceeded to prosecution, during which the prosecutors described Bates’s suffering to the jury. “The physical pain would have been excruciating,” stated one prosecutor, “causing mental deterioration and collapse.”

Other women harmed by Smith testified during the prosecution to paint a picture of a misogynistic man who was obsessively envious and used chaos to control others.

Smith, meanwhile, argued that he was a significant victim. He claimed that Bates’s insults drove him to murder her. “She put me through hell by agitating me,” he stated. He even argued that she was responsible for some of her injuries in an attempt to discredit him.

The jury, however, did not buy it and quickly found James Patterson Smith, age 49, guilty of killing Kelly Anne Bates. On November 19, 1997, he was sentenced to a minimum of twenty years (some accounts say twenty-five) in prison, where he remains to this day.

As for Margaret Bates, she frequently recalls the first time she met Smith in the kitchen. “I would never normally consider something so heinous,” she said of her desire to murder him on the spot. “Now I’m wondering if it was some kind of sixth sense.”

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