Kelly Anne Bates was dating a man, three times her age. She told her parents about it, moved in with him, and never saw her family again. On April 16, 1996, James Patterson Smith told the police that his girlfriend Kelly Anne Bates had accidentally drowned, but what they found in the house would torment the family for the rest of their lives.
Smith had a history of abuse with the girl 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 killed someone.
Kelly Anne Bates’ parents never agreed of their relationship
Kelly Anne Bates was 16 years old when she gathered her parents in the kitchen to tell them something very special. She informed her parents that she had been in a relationship for two years and that her boyfriend was 32 years old. James Patterson entered the room after she informed her parents about her boyfriend.
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.
Kelly told her family that she and her boyfriend had been together for two years when she was 14 years old. They were able to keep their relationship a secret from their families until she eventually summoned the courage to tell them about it.
Margaret searched around for more details about her daughter’s boyfriend but came up empty-handed because she asked if anyone knew 32-year-old James Patterson Smith, who was actually 49 years old, 33 years older than Kelly.
Kelly Ann Bates never imagined that the guy she hoped would be the ideal boyfriend would take her life a few months later as she stood in the kitchen telling her family about her 32-year-old boyfriend.
Margret wanted to stab Smith with bread knife
Kelly was now an adult, and her parents couldn’t stop her from seeing her boyfriend. But Margret later admitted in an interview that she just wanted to stab him with the bread knife in the kitchen, she regretted not doing that at the time, saying, “This wasn’t the man I wanted for my daughter.”
Kelly was 16 at the time and in Britain she was an adult, her parents could not force her to stay away from her boyfriend, although she didn’t know what’s best for her. After the meeting in the kitchen, on November 30, 1995, Kelly left her family home and moved South to live with her unemployed boyfriend. She did not visit her family and spoke to them on the phone most of the time.
Margret was worried from the beginning, she wanted to go to the police, but Kelly was too old for the police to do anything, and she didn’t listen to her mother. “I didn’t know what to do. She was too old for the police to do anything. She wouldn’t listen to me.”
Margot and Tammy had had enough of Kelly not visiting her home for several days and wanted to meet her to see how she was doing. As they were about to leave, however, their oldest son returned home and told her that one of his friends had seen Kelly Anne Bates and that she was fine.
Margot was so happy to learn that her daughter was doing well that she forgot to ask when he last saw her. What time is it? She would be protected from her boyfriend’s barbaric torment if they went to check on her.
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 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.
Kelly soon stopped seeing her relatives, fearful that her parents would find out about the bruises. Over the holidays, she avoided giving them visits. On March 10, 1996, Margaret called Kelly to inform her that she had missed a dentist appointment. That will be the last time they spoke to each other.
Smith sent Kelly’s family letters posing Kelly
Kelly promised she would come home to visit the family on Mother’s Day the next Sunday, but she never did. Margaret instead received a card from Kelly, but it was not written in Kelly’s handwriting. Kelly’s father’s birthday and her parent’s wedding anniversary both saw something similar. They knew something was wrong at that point, but Kelly Anne Bates was murdered before they could intervene.
Kelly was subjected to horrific torment in the weeks leading up to her death, while her family waited by the phone. Patterson has a history of mistreating the people with whom he shared a home. His first marriage ended in divorce after he continued to hit his pregnant wife, and other women who dated James Patterson Smith shared similar accounts.
He was no different to Kelly Anne Bates but instead escalated the abuse to a frightening new level. All of this was revealed on April 16, 1996, when Smith went to the Gorton Police Station and said he had inadvertently killed Kelly Anne Bates while she was lying in a bathtub, drowning her.
When authorities discovered Kelly Anne Bates in the home, however, the truth was revealed. They saw a very different story: Kelly was held prisoner for four weeks by the monster, who scalded her, crushed her arms and legs, gouged her eyes up to three weeks before her death, stabbed her entire body with knives, forks, and scissors, and stamped her with a domestic iron, resulting in 150 different injuries all over her body. Kelly was then struck with a showerhead before being drowned.
Trialf of James Patterson Smith
The case went to trial, and prosecutors outlined the torture the girl suffered until she died, with one prosecutor telling the jury that the girl’s “physical pain would have been intense, causing anguish and torment to the point of mental breakdown and collapse.” Women who had been abused by Smith came forward during the trial to tell the court what he had done to them.
Even after torturing Kelly Anne Bates for hours on end, Smith insisted in court that he was the true victim. Kelly, he said, had provoked him to kill her by taunting him about his mother’s death. He said she inflicted her own injuries on him to make him look bad.
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, where 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.”