A mother-of-two reportedly flew into a homicidal rage after her daughter came to her with a horrific story. After hearing what her husband had allegedly done, the woman killed the man as he slept, using boiling sugar water. She’s since learned her fate.
Corinna Smith, a 59-year-old British woman previously known as Corinna Baines, had been married to her husband, 81-year-old Michael Baines, for 38 years when she killed him by pouring scorching hot sugar water over his body. Baines was sleeping in their home in Neston, near Liverpool, when Smith attacked him with the mixture, according to The Blaze.
After the attack, Smith reportedly fled the home and went to a house nine doors down, where she told a neighbor what she had done. “I’ve hurt him really bad, I think I’ve killed him,” she said as she allegedly admitted to the assault. The neighbor promptly called the police, and an ambulance was sent to tend to the wounded man.
Police reportedly found Baines “in excruciating pain and whimpering in bed with the skin on his right arm and hand peeling off,” according to the BBC. He had suffered burns to 36% of his body after the sugar “made the liquid more viscous, thicker and stickier so that it stays on the skin and causes greater damage,” prosecutors later told a local court.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Baines spent five weeks in the hospital, where he needed repeated surgery and skin grafts before he succumbed to his injuries, just over one month after the assault. Following Baines’ death, Cheshire Constabulary detective chief inspector Paul Hughes said Smith “killed her husband Michael in such a painful and cruel way,” but some would say he had it coming.
According to Smith, she flew into the homicidal rage after her daughter came to her the day before the lethal attack and told her that Baines had sexually assaulted and abused both her and her brother “for many years when they were children.” Incensed by the accusations, Smith, who was described as being “livid and “fuming” in court documents, took a bucket from her garden, boiled up two kettles of water, and mixed it with three bags of sugar.
Smith then went into a downstairs bedroom of the house that she shared with her husband, where he was in bed, and poured the boiling liquid over him. “To throw boiling water over someone when they are asleep is absolutely horrific,” Hughes said of the attack. “To also mix three bags of sugar with the water showed the determination she had to cause serious harm,” he added, explaining that “the sugar placed into the water makes it vicious” and “it becomes thicker and stickier and sinks into the skin better.”
Further criticizing the “painful,” “cruel,” and “horrific” attack Smith had launched on her husband, Hughes continued, “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 neighbor, who she wasn’t close to, what she had done.” After hearing more about the family’s history, however, some have little sympathy for Michael Baines.
Although the daughter claimed that the father had abused her and her brother, Smith’s son Craig couldn’t be questioned about his sister’s allegations. Sadly, Craig had committed suicide in 2007 after “he had been troubled before his death and had been to prison for a serious assault.” Before his death, Craig told his mother the man he attacked was a “pedophile” who had “touched him sexually,” the NY Post reported.
After the accusations made by his sister, however, Smith made another connection between what Craig had said before he died and what her daughter had told her, according to Judge Amanda Yip.
“The day before Craig’s death, he had been in some distress and had said: ‘Mum, he’s a pedophile.’ 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. Your trial could not and did not explore the truth of the allegations made against your husband,” Judge Amanda Yip told Smith in court, according to Law & Crime.
“You found it difficult to take everything in but made the connection between what Craig had said the day before he died and what your daughter was telling you,” Judge Yip furthered, according to the Mirror. “You were understandably very upset. You were described as being livid and fuming.”
Unfortunately for Smith, Baine wasn’t on trial. She was, and jurors were told by prosecutors that, regardless of whether the allegations made about Michael Baines were true or not, “that is not the issue for you in this case because the prosecution certainly accepts that these allegations were made and that Corinna Baines [Smith] believed them to be true at the time that she caused the fatal injuries to Michael,” The Sun reported.
“She was in control and acted in anger and to exact vengeance for what she believed that Michael had done,” prosecutor Mark Rhind told the Chester Crown Court. “We say that she intended either to kill Michael or to cause him really serious harm and so she is guilty of murder,” he added, and the jury agreed. Corinna Smith was found guilty of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, and ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years behind bars before parole can be considered.
While many of us understand her motive and even empathize with Corinna Smith, let the words of Judge Amanda Yip keep us grounded should we ever be faced with a similar situation and contemplate taking justice into our own hands: “Killing Mr. Baines also took away any opportunity for the allegations to be tested.” It would be better for the abused to see their abuser face the consequences of his crimes in court rather than living with their mother being locked up for taking matters into her own hands and never having the guilt of the abuser proven. Forever, it will only be an accusation because the accused is innocent until proven guilty and a dead man can’t be convicted.