The Disturbing Case Of Kelly-Anne Bates

In 1996, James Patterson Smith reportedly abused his 17-year-old girlfriend, Kelly-Anne Bates, for more than a month before he ended her life. Smith and Bates met while she babysat the children of a friend. She was unaware Smith abused multiple young women prior. Despite their 32-year age difference, Bates moved in with Smith. In England, the legal system considered her an adult, so her parents could not force her to leave Smith. He killed her months later.

Bates's story is particularly harrowing. Reader discretion is advised.

  • Bates Met Smith When She Was 14

    James Smith and Kelly-Anne Bates reportedly started dating when Bates was 14, yet they managed to keep their relationship a secret from her parents for two years. Her parents were unaware of the 32-year age difference when Bates moved in with Smith in November 1995, not long after finishing high school.

    Even though she was only 17 at the time, she could legally decide to live with Smith in the eyes of the law. 

  • Before Moving In With Smith, Bates Came Home Bruised Several Times

    Warning signs arose as Bates's relationship with Smith progressed. Her parents noted how the 16-year-old repeatedly came home with bruises and bite marks, which she dismissed. Reportedly, Bates once claimed a gang of girls attacked her after school to explain a black eye. She also maintained her bite marks happened on "accident." 

    Bates never revealed any of the abuse to her mother or father.

  • Bates's Parents Saw The Hole Where Smith Held Her Captive

    When Margaret and Tommy Bates realized their teen daughter was in a secret relationship, they went to Smith's address to meet him. Reportedly, Bates appeared “nervous” and sat quietly with her “head bowed” during the visit. Weeks later, Bates left home to move in with Smith. Her parents didn’t contest their daughter’s choice but stipulated she keep in contact with them.

    Margaret Bates later said Smith had shown her a hole in his floorboard, which he told her was the result of a supposed gas leak. Smith allegedly kept Bates in the same hole months later.

  • The Police Gave Bates's Mother Domestic Abuse Pamphlets

    Margaret Bates contacted the local police before her daughter’s death and described her concerns: Bates regularly came home with bruises and occasionally with bite marks. The domestic violence department encouraged her to give Bates information and leaflets about how to identify abuse and leave the situation, but Margaret never got the chance to drop them off. 

    Police were unable to pursue Smith at that time because he had no prior criminal record, and no one had previously reported him for domestic abuse. 

  • Smith Held Her Captive In His House Before Killing Her

    By March 1996, Bates’s parents - Margaret and Tommy Bates - recall having intermittently talked with their daughter on the phone, but they never saw her once she moved out. They noted how Bates quit her job that past December and didn’t come around for family events.

    Concerned, they planned to confront Bates at Smith’s residence but decided not to once another family member reported she as okay. In the month before her death, Bates’s family lost all contact with her. 

  • Bates Endured Unimaginable Suffering

    A month prior to Bates's death, Smith subjected her to horrific torture over a period of weeks. Reportedly, Smith used knives, pruning shears, forks, several pairs of scissors, and a spade to systematically harm the teen. He also burned Bates all over her body using hot irons and scalding water.

    The coroner reported Bates had a broken arm and shattered kneecaps. According to her autopsy results, Smith gouged out her eyes three weeks before she died, and Bates sustained approximately 150 injuries in total.