Kelly Anne Bates was born on May 18, 1978 in Hattersley, Manchester to Tommy and Margaret Bates.
One evening, while babysitting, 14 year old Kelly met James Patterson Smith, a friend of the children’s parents. He offered to walk her home.
James was 30 years older than Kelly.
James had been married, but his wife left him because he was abusive. He had a history of dating and beating underaged girls.
He beat and tried to drown his 20 year old girlfriend while she was pregnant. He also attempted to drown a 15 year old that he was dating.
Kelly and James dated, in secret, for 2 years before she dropped out of school and moved in with James.
The first time Tommy met James, he was shocked by how old he was, but allowed his daughter to continue seeing him.
Margaret said that she instantly hated James, but feared that telling Kelly she couldn’t date him would only make her want him more.
Kelly worked, but James didn’t. He seemed possessive and Kelly’s contact with her parents decreased until they were just receiving cards signed Kelly and James in James’s handwriting.
Kelly briefly moved home after an argument with James, but they soon got back together.
In April 1995, James contacted police. The couple had been living together for 5 months.
James told police that Kelly was dead. He claimed to have accidentally killed her in the bathtub during an argument. The house told a very different story.
Police arrived to find blood in every room of the house. Kelly had 150 separate injuries, including burns, fractures, stab wounds and mutilation.
She had been stabbed with knives, forks and scissors, both her eyes had been removed and she was partially scalped.
It was clear that she had been tied to the radiator by her hair and that her eyes had been gouged out no less than 5 days before her death. It was possible that she had lived, blinded, for up to 3 weeks.
She had been starved and had lost about 65 pounds and had gone without water for several days.
It was clear that Kelly had been the victim of repeated and prolonged torture. Her cause of death was drowning. James had beat her with the showerhead before drowning her.
James denied that he had intended to murder Kelly. He claimed that many of her injuries were self-inflicted and that she would often dare him to hurt her. He claimed that is why he gouged her eyes out.
He also claimed that he hadn’t realized, at first, that she was dead because she would often play dead to scare him.
James was convicted of murder. The jury took just 1 hour to deliberate. He was sentenced to life in prison.
A psychiatrist reported that James had a paranoid personality and lived in a distorted reality.
The jury was offered counseling after the trial to process the horrific nature of the case.
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