A mother found guilty of murdering her own 42-day-old baby with a powerful painkiller has been paroled and is due to be released after just 12 years in prison.
Michelle Smith, then 34, was sentenced to life in 2007 after being convicted of giving her daughter Amy adult painkillers.
A Swansea Crown Court jury found her unanimously guilty of murdering the defenseless baby at home in Morriston, Swansea, South Wales, in November 2007.
The Parole Board confirmed that Smith, now 46, has been given an “oral” appeal in June when she will appear before the three-person panel.
If recommended for release, Smith will be back on the street a few weeks later.
Michelle Smith, then 34, (pictured outside Swansea Crown Court in 2012) was sentenced to life after being convicted of feeding her 42-day-old daughter Amy adult painkillers
The Parole Board confirmed that Smith, now 46, has been given an “oral” appeal in June when she will appear before the three-person panel. Pictured: Swansea Crown Court
A spokesman for the Parole Board said: ‘An oral hearing has been scheduled to review Michelle Smith’s parole and is scheduled for June 2023.
“Decisions made by the Parole Board focus solely on the risk an inmate may pose to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
“A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime and any evidence of behavior change, as well as the damage done and the impact the crime has had on the victims.
“Members read and process hundreds of pages of evidence and reports leading up to an oral hearing.
“Evidence from witnesses, including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison, as well as personal statements from the victim are then given at the hearing.
“The prisoner and witnesses are then extensively questioned during the interrogation, which often lasts an entire day or more.
‘Parole reviews are carried out thoroughly and with the utmost care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”
If the panel does not recommend her release, she may be transferred to a category D soft open prison, normally a step toward eventual freedom.
Smith poisoned baby Amy three times before finally succeeding in killing her. She crushed tablets of the powerful painkiller dihydrocodeine – prescribed only for adults – and gave them to Amy in her formula
A Swansea Crown Court jury found her unanimously guilty of murdering the defenseless baby at home in Morriston, Swansea, South Wales, in November 2007. Pictured: A general view of Morriston, Swansea
Smith poisoned baby Amy three times before finally succeeding in killing her.
She pulverized tablets of the powerful painkiller dihydrocodeine—prescribed only for adults—and gave them to Amy in her formula.
The first time, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her and sent her home.
The second time she was rushed to the hospital, urine tests revealed dihydrocodeine, but the results were not passed on to the doctors and Amy was once again released.
But the third time it happened, Amy couldn’t be brought back to life and she died aged six weeks.
An autopsy revealed the presence of the drug and only then did the previous urine test results become known.
At sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Spencer told a sobbing Smith that he believed she killed Amy out of a desire for attention.
He told Smith that her actions involved “substantial premeditation.”
He added, “Giving Amy this drug required, as it must have done, the crushing of tablet or tablets with a considerable amount of planning and premeditation.”
He said Amy was young and vulnerable and Smith’s actions were “a gross abuse of your position as her mother.”
“In all likelihood, you were craving and seeking attention by presenting Amy to the doctors at the hospital.”
The judge told Smith, “The only conclusion on all the evidence is that on the day she died you must have crushed one or more tablets that were available in the house.”
He also drew attention to Amy’s condition, described as “thriving” when seen by the health visitor the day she died.
Within hours she was found in a collapsed state from which she never recovered, and died later the same day.
Finally, he told her, “Inevitably your contact with your other children, the siblings Amy will never get to know, will be significantly limited, adding to the tragedy of this case.”
A relative of Smith, who did not attend court until after the jury retired, wailed in terror during sentencing.
She was heard saying ‘No, no’ several times, and was finally taken to a private room in a clearly upset state.
A grenade-shocked Smith was led away in tears, still protesting, “But I didn’t do it.” I did not do it.’
Six-week-old Amy Smith died on November 9, 2007.
Smith and her husband Christopher, who never attended the trial or gave evidence, were questioned by police in the aftermath of the death.
Both had previously received drugs for various conditions containing DHC.
It wasn’t until September 2010 that Smith himself was arrested on suspicion of murder.
At that time she was released without charge, but in June 2011 she was arrested and charged with murder and then released on bail.
In January 2011, she reported to Neath police station as part of her bail conditions and confessed to killing Amy, but retracted it almost immediately.
Smith maintained at her trial that she never did anything to harm Amy and never gave her DHC.
She dismissed suggestions that she knew drugs stored in their home contained DHC, claiming she never gave Amy Calpol.
Detective Sergeant Justin Evans, of South Wales Police, said after the verdict in July 2012 that he hoped it would help the family move on.
Outside court, he said: “Michelle Smith was convicted today of the murder of her baby daughter Amy Smith.
“Amy was only six weeks old when she was killed by the one person who should have done more than anyone to protect her.
“Amy Smith was approaching her fifth birthday, and Michelle Smith’s actions have left a family without a beloved little girl.
“Our thoughts are with Amy’s family at this sad time, and we hope today’s verdict will enable the family to move on with the rest of their lives.”