Killer mum won't admit guilt 16 years after feeding baby painkillers

The killer mother who still refuses to admit her guilt… 16 years after feeding her baby a fatal dose of painkillers

  • EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Smith, 45, denied move to open prison by the Parole Board
  • She was sentenced to life in 2007 for killing her 42-day-old daughter Amy
  • Smith still insists she is innocent of murder, despite poisoning Amy three times

A mother jailed for life for the murder of her baby daughter with a powerful painkiller has been denied a move to an open prison because she refuses to accept her guilt.

Michelle Smith, then 34, was sentenced to life in 2007 after being convicted of feeding adult painkillers to her 42-day old baby daughter Amy. 

A jury at Swansea Crown Court found her unanimously guilty of murdering the defenceless baby at home in Morriston, Swansea, south Wales, in November 2007.

Smith, now 45, had an ‘oral’ appeal before the Parole Board on the 23rd June when she asked the three-person panel to recommend that she be transferred to an open jail.

MailOnline can reveal that Smith was told last week her application had been rejected and she would have to stay in a high security closed prison for at least another two years.

Michelle Smith, then 34, (pictured outside Swansea Crown Court in 2012) was sentenced to life after being convicted of feeding adult painkillers to her 42-day old baby daughter Amy

One of the main reasons cited by the Parole Board for the rejection was that Smith continues to refuse to acknowledge that she deliberately killed her daughter.

In a written summary of the decision, seen by MailOnline, the panel stated that Smith had not undertaken any accredited jail programmes to address her ‘offending behaviour’ because she was not eligible for them.

It wrote: ‘The panel learned that this was in part due to her continued maintenance of innocence in relation to the index offence.

‘Mrs Smith however had engaged with one-to-one work with her prison supervisor. 

‘This work had focused on developing professional relationships and the support networks she would need upon her eventual return to the community.’

It continued: ‘The panel also heard that there had been few concerns about Mrs Smith’s behaviour and conduct in prison.

‘There were positive reports about some trusted roles she had undertaken on her unit. Witnesses recommended that Mrs Smith could be safely managed in open conditions.

‘The panel examined the proposals for Mrs Smith to be managed in a prison with lower levels of security and where at times she would be in the community during periods of temporary release.

The Parole Board rejected Smith’s appeal to be moved to an open prison after serving 12 years behind bars, citing her refusal to admit guilt as one of the reasons (Pictured: Swansea Crown Court)

‘It concluded that despite the work she had undertaken, her risk factors were still not well understood and that there was some further work she needed to complete in closed conditions.’

The panel concluded: ‘After considering the circumstances of her offending, the progress made while in custody and the very full evidence presented at the hearing and in the dossier, the panel did not consider that Mrs Smith met the criteria for a transfer to open conditions at this time.’

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ”We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused to recommend the transfer to open conditions of Michelle Smith following an oral hearing.

‘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.’

Smith has now served 12 years in prison and her minimum term expires later this month (July). The hearing last month could not consider recommending she be released on licence.

Smith poisoned baby Amy three times before finally managing to kill her.

She crushed tablets of the powerful painkiller dihydrocodeine – prescribed only to adults – and fed it to Amy in her bottle feed.

On the first occasion, doctors could not find anything wrong with her and sent her home.

Smith (pictured) poisoned baby Amy three times before finally managing to kill her. She crushed tablets of the powerful painkiller dihydrocodeine- prescribed only to adults – and fed it to Amy in her bottle feed

The second time she was rushed to hospital and urine tests revealed dihydrocodeine – but the results were not passed on to the doctors and Amy was again released.

But the third time it happened, Amy could not be revived and she died aged six weeks.

A post mortem revealed the presence of the drug and it was only then that the earlier urine test results became known.

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Spencer told a sobbing Smith that he believed she killed Amy out of a craving for attention.

He told Smith her actions involved a ‘substantial premeditation’.

He added: ‘The giving of this drug to Amy required, as it must have done, the crushing of tablet or tablets involving a significant degree or planning and premeditation.’

He said Amy was young and vulnerable and that Smith’s actions were ‘a gross abuse of your position as her mother’.

‘In all probability you were in some way craving and seeking attention by presenting Amy to the doctors at hospital.’

A jury at Swansea Crown Court found her unanimously guilty of murdering the defenceless baby at home in Morriston, Swansea, south Wales, in November 2007 (Pictured: A general view of Morriston, Swansea)

The judge told Smith: ‘The only conclusion on all the evidence is that, on the day she died, you must have crushed one or more tablets that were available in the home.’

He also drew attention to the condition of Amy, described as ‘thriving’ when seen by the health visitor on the day she died.

Within hours, she was found in a collapsed state from which she never recovered, dying later the same day.

Concluding, he told her: ‘Inevitably your contact with your other children, the siblings that Amy will never grow to know, has been very substantially curtailed, adding to the tragedy of this case.’

A relative of Smith, who attended court only after the jury retired, wailed in anguish throughout the sentencing.

Several times she was heard to say ‘No, no’, and was eventually taken away to a private room in an obviously distressed state.

A shell shocked Smith was led away in tears, still protesting: ‘But I did not do it. I did not do it.’

Six-week old Amy Smith died on November 9, 2007.

Smith and her husband Christopher, who never attended the trial or gave evidence, were questioned by police in the aftermath of the death.

Both had previously been prescribed medication for various ailments which contained DHC.

It was not until September 2010 that Smith herself was arrested on suspicion of murder.

At that time, she was released without charge, but was arrested and charged with murder in June 2011 and then released on bail.

In January 2012, she reported to Neath police station as part of her bail conditions and confessed to killing Amy but retracted it almost immediately.

Smith insisted throughout her trial that she had never done anything to harm Amy and never given her DHC.

She dismissed suggestions that she knew drugs stored in their home contained DHC, claiming she never so much as gave Amy Calpol.

Detective Sergeant Justin Evans, of South Wales Police, said after the verdict in July 2012 that he hoped it would help the family move on.

Speaking outside the court, he said: ‘Michelle Smith has today been convicted of the murder of her baby daughter Amy Smith.

‘Amy was only six weeks old when she was killed by the one person who should have done more than any other to keep her safe.

‘Amy Smith would have been approaching her fifth birthday, and Michelle Smith’s actions have left a family without a much loved little girl.

‘Our thoughts are with Amy’s family at this sad time, and we hope that today’s verdict will allow the family to now move on with the rest of their lives.’

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