25/01/2012 04:15 GMT | Updated 25/01/2012 04:31 GMT

Paedophile Martin Smith, Whose Partner Is Accused Of Murdering Two Children, Found Hanged In Prison

A paedophile whose partner is accused of murdering their two children in a Spanish hotel has been found dead in prison.

Martin Smith, 46, a hypnotist who had appeared on TV, was found dead on Monday evening at HMP Manchester, formerly Strangeways Prison.

Smith used hypnotism and violence to groom and sexually abuse a young girl.

Last March he was jailed for 16 years at Liverpool Crown Court after being convicted of 11 specimen charges of rape, attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault, spanning nine years from May 1995 to May 2004, following a trial in December 2010.

Smith, originally from North Shields, had regular access to the victim and abused her for almost a decade from when she was seven.

He would attempt to hypnotise, hit and bully the victim to ensure she complied, the jury was told.

Smith's own daughter Rebecca, five, and son Daniel, 11 months, were found dead in the Hotel Miramar in the resort of Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava on May 18 last year.

Their mother Lianne Smith, 43, faces two counts of murder.

In December 2007 the Smiths - who shared a surname but were not married - left the UK for Spain with Rebecca. Daniel was subsequently born in Spain.

Smith was extradited in spring 2010 and after his return to the UK, Rebecca and Daniel were found dead.

At the time of the deaths the defendant was in custody in England awaiting trial.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Prisoner Martin Smith was found hanging by staff at HMP Manchester at approximately 6.30pm on Monday 23 January 2012.

"Staff intervened but he was pronounced dead at the prison at approximately 7pm.

"As with all deaths in custody, the independent prisons and probation ombudsman will undertake an investigation."