Father of children found dead in Spain extradited to Britain

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The father of two British children found dead in Spain is an alleged paedophile who was extradited back to Britain this week, police said Wednesday, in a new twist on the tragic story.

Martin Smith, 45, was flown back from Spain to Britain on Tuesday, the same day as the bodies of his children were found dead in the coastal resort of Lloret de Mar, and his wife was arrested on suspicion of their murder.

Smith "was brought back to the UK yesterday... and appeared in Carlisle Magistrates Court this morning to face 13 charges of sexual offences and for failing to answer police bail," said Cumbria police in northwest England.

"During the court hearing it was disclosed that Spanish police have informed Cumbria Constabulary that Martin Smith's wife, 43-year-old Lianne Smith, has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of his two children Rebecca, 5, and Daniel, 11 months, in Spain."

The mother and daughter had been reported missing in Britain since December 2007, the force said, adding: "We are saddened by these tragic events and are supporting members of the extended family in Cumbria."

The statement, which gave no more details, came after Spanish police said Tuesday they had detained a British woman they suspect of having murdered her two young children while on holiday in Lloret de Mar.

Police found the bodies of the children in a hotel bedroom, they said in a statement. There were no traces of violence and police were investigating the cause of their death.

The seaside city of around 40,000 people located some 70 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Barcelona is one of the most popular resorts on Spain's Costa Brava and is visited by thousands of British tourists each year.

Cumbria police said the father was remanded in custody Wednesday, pending a new court appearance.

© 2010 AFP

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