Woman jailed for minimum of 12 years for murdering husband in Neston

A woman who poured boiling water over her husband while he slept has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Corinna Smith, of Highfield Road in Neston, will serve a minimum of 12 years in prison.

The 59-year-old mixed the water with three bags of sugar leaving Michael Baines, aged 81, with 36 per cent burns to his body.

He was taken to Whiston Hospital in the early hours of Tuesday 14 July 2020 in a serious condition. He received treatment for his injuries but, despite the best efforts of medical staff, he died a month later – on Tuesday 18 August.

The day before the attack took place, Smith, aged 59, was described as angry and very upset at a rumour circulating about her husband that she believed to be true.

On the day of the incident she returned home and filled a bucket from her garden with boiling water and mixed it with 3kg of sugar.

As Michael lay asleep in bed she poured the contents over his arms and torso and then left the property.

She went to a nearby house and banged on the front door until the occupant answered.

He contacted police and ambulance after hearing her say ‘I’ve hurt him really bad, I think I’ve killed him’.

A short time later officers arrived at the address. They found Michael in excruciating pain and whimpering in bed with the skin on his right arm and hand peeling off.

Michael was taken to hospital and remained in the burns unit for two weeks in a stable condition before he deteriorated and passed away.

Following the incident Smith was initially charged with grievous bodily harm – shortly after the death of her husband she was charged with murder.

On Tuesday 15 June a jury found her guilty of murder following a five-day trial at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced. She was sentenced at the same court on Friday 9 July.  

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, from Cheshire Constabulary’s Major Crime Directorate, 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 viscous. 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.

“Michael was an elderly man who fought for his life after the attack but sadly in the end he passed away. My thoughts continue to be with his family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Since this article was published, further information surrounding the case has come to light.

The man who died was 80-year-old Michael Baines. He was taken to hospital with 36% burns to his body on 14 July 2020 – he died the following month on 18 August 2020.

On 13 July 2020 Corinna Smith’s daughter informed her about allegations of sexual abuse against children that had been going on for many years.

These allegations included one of child sexual abuse against the child that Corinna Smith and Michael Baines had together, Craig Baines, who sadly took his own life in 2007 aged 25.

In her sentencing remarks, the judge, The Honourable Mrs Justice Amanda Yip DBE, said of Corinna Smith, “This is something that you have felt guilty about ever since. You blamed yourself for Craig’s death although you had no reason to.”

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