Mum dies after never escaping death of daughter who was tortured in bathtub

Tributes have poured in for the mum of murdered teen Kelly-Anne Bates, who has died following a long battle with an illness.

Margaret Bates passed away in hospital just before Christmas, aged 65.

Husband Tommy said his beloved late wife always "wanted to go back with Kelly".

Kelly-Anne was just 17 when her much older boyfriend James Smith drowned her in a bathtub in 1996, reports Manchester Evening News.

Over the three weeks leading up to her death, he tortured her and stabbed her in the mouth, body and face while she pleaded for her life.

Smith, then 49, received a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars and becomes eligible for parole next year.

Friends of the supermarket worker said the imminent release of her daughter's murderer had been weighing on her mind.

She was a popular figure at Tesco in Hattersley, and was said to have felt closest to her daughter as this was the site of the family home until it was bulldozed to make way for the store.

Margaret had said: “My checkout desk overlooks the spot where our living room once stood. It is a real comfort, to be surrounded by my memories and the familiarity of the past.

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"I feel near to Kelly-Anne on my checkout. It’s my safe place. I know her spirit is there. I feel like she is home again."

Margaret fought breast cancer twice and received radiotherapy treatment earlier this year, which diminished her immune system.

She died in hospital on December 17 due to respiratory failure, according to her family.

She leaves husband Tommy and their two sons.

Devastated Tommy, 61, said : "She was always saying 'I want to get back with Kelly'."

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He insisted Margaret, who was an asthma sufferer, had not tested positive for Covid-19.

Although she never got over losing Kelly-Anne, he said, the death had not been a factor in her recent ill-health.

Amy Fisher, on Facebook, wrote: "What can you say about this lady other then she was one of the loveliest ladies I’ve ever met. Lovely golden heart, time for anyone… rest in peace with your girl."

Ellen Grosvenor said: "Heartbreaking. Absolutely lovely lady, back with her Kelly-Anne."

Leighton McMylor said: "She always had a smile for everyone and was so warm and friendly. I could always have a nice chat and a laugh with her. Being old school she always addressed people sir/madam and would often help people pack their shopping."

In the weeks leading up to Kelly-Anne's death, Smith subjected her to 150 separate injuries before beating her with a shower head and drowning her in a bathtub.

She had also been starved and lost three stone in weight.

Details of her horrific murder were so stomach-churning that the jury at her killer’s trial needed counselling.

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247

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