Kelly Ann Bates: In the quiet town of Manchester, England, a sinister tale of abuse and murder unfolded that would shock the nation. A young girl, barely out of school, found herself ensnared in a web of manipulation and violence that would ultimately lead to her tragic demise. This is the chilling story of Kelly Anne Bates, a 17-year-old English teenager, and her abuser, James Patterson Smith.

Kelly Anne Bates chilhood

Kelly’s boyfriend, James Patterson Smith had a history of abuse with the girls he’d been in a relationship with, he had become more abusive with each girl, he was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and with Kelly Anne Bates, he finally killed someone.

Kelly’s parents never agreed to the relationship

Kelly was only 14 when she met Smith while babysitting for friends. Smith, a man significantly older than her, began grooming her at this tender age. He was able to win her trust and manipulate her, setting the stage for the tragic events that were to follow. On November 30, 1995, after she had left school, Kelly moved in with Smith at his home in Furnival Road, Gorton, Manchester. She managed to conceal the significant age difference between them from her parents, further isolating herself and becoming more dependent on Smith.

Kelly Anne Bates with her family

Kelly’s mother, Margret, was taken aback when she learned of Smith’s age, which was twice that of her daughter. She noticed something off about him right away; he didn’t look like a 32-year-old man at first, and he seemed to be much older. Margret’s investigations revealed that Smith was, in fact, 49 years old, 33 years older than Kelly. Despite her concerns, Margret was powerless to intervene as Kelly was legally an adult in Britain.

This wasn’t the man I wanted for my daughter. I vividly recall seeing our bread knife in the kitchen and wanting to pick it up and stab him in the back.”

During their relationship, Kelly and Smith broke up for a while but then Smith stalked her until they were back again. While trips to Smith’s house were common for Kelly, her parents once followed her to Smith’s house. While there Smith invited them into his house and showed them a hole in the floorboards, that he said had been made by engineers repairing a gas leak, Kelly’s parents believe that this was the place where he held Kelly Anne Bates captive.

Her parents agreed only on one condition that she keeps in regular contact, and kept coming to their home. But soon after she moved out, she stopped visiting the family, and when she stopped by for a rare visit, her parents noticed bruises on her arms.

James Patterson Smith, Kelly Anne Bates' boyfriend
James Patterson Smith was 49 years old tortured Kelly Anne Bates for months before drowning her

Kelly moved in and the abuse started

Kelly Anne Bates moved in with her boyfriend, James Patterson Smith, on November 30, 1995, and soon the abuse started. Kelly was subjected to unimaginable torture by Smith. Over a period of four weeks, Smith inflicted a series of brutal injuries on Kelly. She suffered from scalding of her buttocks and legs, stab wounds inside her mouth, and mutilation of her body. In one of the most shocking instances of abuse, her eyes were gouged from their sockets up to three weeks before her death. Smith also attempted to drown her by holding her head underwater in the kitchen sink. Kelly’s broken arm and shattered kneecaps were a testament to the extent of the abuse she endured. The severity and extent of her injuries were such that they shocked even experienced police officers and medical professionals.

In fact, Kelly soon stopped seeing anyone, as she was afraid that her parents would find out about the bruises. Smith sent Kelly’s family letters posing as Kelly. On March 10, 1996, Margret called Kelly to inform her that she had missed a dentist appointment. That would be the last time they spoke to each other. Kelly promised she would come home to visit the family on Mother’s Day the next Sunday, but she never did.

Margret instead received a card from Kelly, but it was not written in Kelly’s handwriting. At Kelly’s father’s birthday and her parent’s wedding anniversary, they witnessed the similarity. They knew something was wrong at that point, but Kelly Anne Bates was murdered before they could intervene.

The Discovery of Kelly Anne Bates’ Death

On April 16, 1996, James Patterson Smith contacted Greater Manchester Police to report that his teenage girlfriend, Kelly Anne Bates, had accidentally drowned in the bathtub. However, the authorities quickly arrested Smith as his story fell apart almost immediately. The post-mortem examination revealed that Smith had brutally tortured Kelly Anne Bates for weeks before she finally died. The police found Kelly-Anne’s naked and lifeless body on the bathroom floor, a chilling testament to the horrific abuse she had endured.

The Abuser: James Patterson Smith

Smith was an abusive man who liked to control and dominate his partners. He had a history of violence towards women, including a previous partner whom he also abused. His violent tendencies escalated with each relationship, ultimately leading to the horrific murder of Kelly Anne Bates. Smith’s pattern of abuse and control is a chilling reminder of the dangers of domestic violence and the importance of recognizing and addressing such behavior.

Smith was found guilty of murdering Kelly Anne Bates at the home they shared in Gorton, Greater Manchester. Despite his denial of the murder and his claim that Bates “would put me through hell winding me up,” a jury at Manchester Crown Court took just one hour to find him guilty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. The case is considered one of the worst examples of abuse the police had ever seen. The shocking nature of the case served as a grim reminder of the depths to which human cruelty can descend.

On November 19, 1997, the jury found James Patterson Smith, 49, guilty of the murder of Kelly Anne Bates and sentenced him to a minimum of 20 years in jail, which he is still serving.

As for Margret, she wishes, “I want him to die just like Kelly did. I know I shouldn’t say this, but I wish I’d killed him the first time I saw him. That way Kelly would still be alive.”

The Legacy of Kelly Anne Bates

Kelly’s tragic story serves as a stark warning about the dangers of abusive relationships and the importance of early intervention. It highlights the need for society to be vigilant and proactive in recognizing and addressing signs of grooming and domestic abuse. It also underscores the importance of providing support and resources to victims of domestic violence, to help them escape their abusive situations and seek justice.

In the wake of her death, Kelly’s family, friends, and the wider community have sought to keep her memory alive and ensure that her tragic death was not in vain. They have worked to raise awareness about domestic violence and advocate for stronger protections for victims. Through their efforts, they hope to prevent other young women from suffering the same fate as Kelly.

Margret, still grieving her daughter’s loss, expressed her regret for not acting on her initial instincts about Smith. She wished she had intervened, believing that Kelly would still be alive if she had. She expressed her desire for Smith to meet the same fate as Kelly, a testament to the depth of her grief and anger.

The tragic tale of Kelly Anne Bates is a stark reminder of the horrors of domestic abuse and the importance of vigilance and intervention. Her story continues to resonate, serving as a powerful call to action to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.

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