The case of

Kelly Anne Bates


Kelly Anne Bates

Victim Race

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Victim Date of Birth

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Victim Age
Date Reported

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Date of Death

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Case Status

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Incident Location

Gorton, Greater Manchester, UK

Body Location

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Date of Conviction

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Body Discovered Date

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Who Was Kelly Anne Bates?

Kelly Anne Bates was born on May 18, 1978 in a small town outside of Manchester, England. Her parents were called Tommy and Margaret Bates and Kelly also had two brothers. She has been described as bubbly and confident, as well as a tomboy. Kelly could keep up with her brothers and this meant that the whole family had good relationships with each other.

When Kelly Anne Bates was 14, she was babysitting for a family friend one night. It was here that she met an older man by the name of Dave Smith. He walked Kelly home that night to make sure she made it there safely. Over the next year, Kelly began to drift away from her family and the tight bond they once shared became strained. She began to stay out later, sometimes even overnight, and this became more frequent. It was unlike Kelly to abuse the trust her parents had in her.

Tommy and Margaret didn’t know for sure why Kelly Anne Bates was behaving this way. Margaret Bates had her suspicions because a boy had called the house but he didn’t sound older. She just assumed that Kelly knew him from school. When Kelly was 16, she finally told her parents that she had a boyfriend who she had been seeing for around 2 years.

Kelly Anne Bates brought Dave over to her family home so her parents could meet him. However, Tommy and Margaret were shocked when they met him. Kelly’s mom had assumed that Dave was a boy around Kelly’s age. He was, in fact, a 32-year-old man. Margaret later said that when she met him, all of the hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and she instantly knew that he was bad news. She didn’t tell Kelly though as she didn’t want to push her daughter away.

It wasn’t long before Kelly Anne Bates’s parents discovered the truth. “Dave” wasn’t his name; his real name was Jimmy or James. This wasn’t the only lie though. James was actually 48, which made him more than 30 years older than Kelly. Tommy and Margaret also noticed that Kelly would have fresh bruises on her after visiting James’ house. Kelly would brush these off as accidental. James would also time how long it would take Kelly to get home from his house and as soon as that time was up, he’d be calling her house to make sure she was there. After seeing bite marks on her daughter, Margaret pleaded with Kelly to leave James as it was obvious that he was controlling and abusive. However, Kelly didn’t listen and shortly after, she moved in with James.

Kelly Anne Bates rarely saw her parents after this. In December 1995, Kelly left her part-time job and spent more and more time with James. One of her brothers tried to visit her, but James told him that Kelly wasn’t at home. Her parents received wedding anniversary and birthday cards from the couple, but they were never signed by Kelly, only James.

Victim Was Found Dead/Start of The Crime

On April 16, 1996, James Patterson Smith walked into a local police station and reported that he’d accidentally killed his girlfriend during an argument in the bathroom.

Police officers visited James’ address and found Kelly Anne Bates’ body naked in the bathroom. Her blood was found all over the house, and she was in a terrible state.

James Smith was charged with the murder of Kelly Anne Bates, but he denied doing anything to Kelly on purpose. He claimed that it was all accidental.

The Crime Description

It’s not known exactly what happened to Kelly during the time she lived with James. However, given her injuries and the information that James has shared, this is the version of events that is the closest to the truth.

Kelly Anne Bates moved in with James in November 1995. The abuse slowly worsened over time, ranging from controlling behavior to physical abuse. It was noticed by several people that Kelly had bruises on her and even bite marks, but no authority would help. Her mom reported the abuse to the police and social services but because Kelly was 16, she was an adult in the eyes of the law, and no one would help her.

Kelly was subjected to horrific torture in the four weeks before her death. During this time, she was tied to furniture or a radiator by her hair or, sometimes, by her neck using a ligature. When the pathologist examined Kelly Anne Bates’ body, it was found that she had over 150 separate injuries. These injuries included:

  • Stab wounds to the inside of her mouth
  • Scalding to her buttocks and leg
  • Burning to her thigh from a hot iron
  • Partial scalping
  • A fractured arm
  • Mutilation to several body parts including her ears, nose and genitalia
  • Wounds caused by a spade and shears
  • Multiple stab wounds caused by knives, forks and scissors
  • Crush injuries to both hands

It was also discovered that both of her eyes had been gouged out. It was the pathologist’s best guess that this had been done at least five days before her death but no later than three weeks before she died. Her eye sockets had also been stabbed multiple times. Every single one of these injuries was inflicted upon Kelly while she was still alive. She was tortured slowly and painfully.

On the day of her murder, Kelly Anne Bates was beaten around the head with the showerhead attachment before being drowned in the bathtub.

Suspect or Convicted Killer Details

James Patterson Smith’s exact date of birth is not known but he was born somewhere between 1947-1948. He has a long history of violence towards women.

He first married in 1970, but this ended in divorce in 1980 because he had been violent towards his wife. After that divorce was finalised, he was unemployed and living in Greater Manchester, England. People who knew him at this time described him as houseproud and well-groomed. James was also known for being a non-smoker and never drinking alcohol.

After his marriage ended, he started a relationship with 20-year-old Tina Watson. They were together for two years but their relationship ended in 1982 because Tina said he used her like a punch-bag, even hitting her while she was pregnant with his child. She claimed he hit her over the head with an ashtray and would kick her between her legs. Tina managed to escape after James also tried to drown her in the bathtub.

James than started a relationship with a 15-year-old girl called Wendy Mottershead. James was also very abusive towards Wendy during the time they were together. Wendy has said that James attempted to drown her in the kitchen sink, during one of his many attacks.

James met Kelly when she was just 14-years-old and he began grooming her. It’s not known whether he was abusive to Kelly during the early years but once her parents knew about James, they started noticing bruises on Kelly which she claimed were accidental. It’s highly likely that it was James who inflicted these on Kelly.

Investigation Details

Even though James had confessed to killing Kelly, he claimed that it was entirely accidental. However, once police arrived at James’ home and discovered Kelly’s body, it became clear that this wasn’t an accident.

The pathologist who performed the autopsy on Kelly said that he had examined over 600 homicide victims, but he had never seen injuries as extensive as hers. His professional opinion was also that this wasn’t an eruption of violence. These injuries had been carefully inflicted over a period of time, designed to torture and humiliate Kelly Anne Bates as much as possible.

It was also discovered that Kelly had been starved before her death. She had lost around 20kg in weight. She was also dehydrated; she hadn’t had any water for several days before she died.


During his trial, James denied murder and claimed that Kelly would wind him up on purpose, mocking him about his dead mother and daring him to cause her pain. He was asked why he had stabbed, beaten, and mutilated Kelly Anne Bates and his answer was that she had challenged him to do so.

A consultant psychiatrist told the court that James Smith had a “severe paranoid disorder with morbid jealousy,” and he lived in a distorted reality.


The jury only took one hour to find James Patterson Smith guilty of the murder of Kelly Anne Bates. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 20 years.

Every member of the jury was offered counseling to deal with the distress of seeing the injuries inflicted upon Kelly Anne Bates’ body. All members accepted this offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is James Patterson Smith alive?

Yes, James Patterson Smith is still alive, and he is still imprisoned. He has been in prison for 25 years.

How old was James Patterson Smith when he murdered Kelly Anne Bates?

At the time of Kelly’s murder, James Smith was 48 years old.