Wife, 59, killed husband, 80, with boiling water as he slept after hearing sex abuse claims

A WIFE murdered her husband with boiling water and sugar after she heard allegations he had sexually abused children.

Corinna Smith, 59, mixed three bags of sugar in a bucket of water before pouring it over her 80-year-old husband Michael Baines as he slept.

Smith was said to be "livid and "fuming" after hearing claims Baines had abused children, including son Craig, who took his own life in 2007.

On July 14, she took a bucket from her garden in Neston, Wirral, boiled up two kettles of water and mixed it with the sugar.

Prosecutors said the combination made the liquid "more viscous, thicker and stickier so that it stays on the skin and causes greater damage and that is exactly what it did."

After covering her husband of 38 years in the deadly mix, Smith ran to a neighbour's home, saying: "I think I've killed him".

Officers scrambled to the house and found Michael in extreme pain,whimpering with the skin on his right arm and hand peeling off.

He was taken to the burns unit at Whiston Hospital where he remained in a stable condition with burns to a third of his body.

But he deteriorated and died weeks later on August 18 last year.


The horror attack came a day after Smith was told of "devastating" allegations her husband had committed sexual abuse against children "for many years".

Her husband had been accused of child sexual abuse against Craig Baines, the one child the couple had together.

In 2007, Craig took his own life aged 25 after being troubled before his death and going to prison for an assault.

Judge Amanda Yip DBE, said: "He had been troubled before his death and had been to prison for a serious assault.

"He had told you that the man he attacked had been a paedophile and that he had touched him sexually.

"The day before Craig's death, he had been in some distress and had said: 'Mum, he's a paedophile'.

Killing Mr Baines also took away any opportunity for the allegations to be tested.That took away his right to a fair trial, bearing in mind that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

"You understood him to be referring to the man he had assaulted. Craig seemed happier the next day and you did not explore what he had said further."

The judge added: "Your trial could not and did not explore the truth of the allegations made against your husband.

"The prosecution accepted that the allegations were made and that you believed them. No doubt the revelations were extremely distressing for you."

Smith was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday to life in jail, with a minimum term of 12 years imposed.

Justice Yip said: "Although the background provides some explanation as to why you did what you did, I am sure you know that it cannot provide an excuse.

"Your actions cannot begin to be justified whatever you believed your husband had done.

"You have taken Mr Baines' life and caused terrible grief and shock for his children and those who loved him."

She went on: "Killing Mr Baines also took away any opportunity for the allegations to be tested.

"That took away his right to a fair trial, bearing in mind that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

"The allegations are left hanging but unproven. This is a quite dreadful situation for the whole family."

Speaking after sentencing, detective chief inspector Paul Hughes, from Cheshire Constabulary, said: "Smith killed her husband Michael in such a painful and cruel way.

"To throw boiling water over someone when they are asleep is absolutely horrific.

"To also mix three bags of sugar with the water showed the determination she had to cause serious harm.

"The sugar placed into the water makes it vicious. It becomes thicker and stickier and sinks into the skin better.

"It left Michael in agony and rather than call the emergency services she wasted time by going to a house nine doors away to tell a neighbour, who she wasn't close to, what she had done."

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