Corinna Smith was found guilty of murder Tuesday after throwing boiling water mixed with sugar on her 80-year-old husband, burning his body, which resulted in his death two weeks later. The 59-year-old woman, who’d been married to Michael Baines for 38 years, will be sentenced on July 9 for his murder.

Smith, who had gone out shopping with her daughter, returned to her home in Wirral, Cheshire, mixed two kettles of boiling water with three bags of sugar and proceeded to chuck the mixture at her husband. The boiling formula scathed Baines’ arms, hands, and torso. The water, made sticky by the sugar, burned 36 percent of Michael Baines’ body, who was rushed to the hospital by police.

Following the attack, Corinna Smith ran to her neighbor’s house, banged on the door, and screamed “I’ve hurt him really bad, I think I’ve killed him.” The neighbor then called 911 and officers arrived on the scene, finding Michael in extreme pain and whimpering. His skin had been peeling off of his right arm and hand, and he was taken to Whiston Hospital where he was stabilized.

Baines died two weeks later on August 18 last year, having deteriorated from his severe burns. His death upgraded Corinna Smith’s original grievous bodily harm charges to murder.

On June 15, a jury found Smith guilty of murder and she will be sentenced on July 9. During the five-day trial, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, who works at Cheshire Constabulary, claimed that “Smith killed her husband Michael in such a painful and cruel way.” The extent of his injuries and the forethought Smith put into the crime was enough to convince the jury of the murder charge.

“To throw boiling water over someone when they are asleep is absolutely horrific, Hughes said. “To also mix three bags of sugar with the water showed the determination she had to cause serious harm. The sugar placed into the water makes it vicious. It becomes thicker and stickier and sinks into the skin better. It left Michael in agony.”

Corinna Smith poured a mixture of boiling water and sugar on her husband, burning 36 percent of his body. Michael Baines died two weeks later.
Corinna Smith poured a mixture of boiling water and sugar on her husband, burning 36 percent of his body. Michael Baines died two weeks later. Photo Credit: Cheshire Police

The Detective Chief also pointed out that Smith, “rather than call the emergency services,” had “wasted time by going to a house nine doors away to tell a neighbor, who she wasn’t close to, what she had done.”

He concluded that “Michael was an elderly man who fought for his life after the attack but sadly, in the end, he passed away. My thoughts continue to be with his family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Initially, Corinna Smith had confessed to manslaughter, having lied about her initial story. When CPS refused to accept it, her story changed. Smith eventually admitted that she had killed her husband after she lost control, which Crown Prosecution Service member, Jayne Morris, said she did in a “brutal and painful way.”

The attack was allegedly sparked by a dispute between Smith, her husband, and her daughter, though the details have not been released. According to The Sun, Corinna Smith was angry about a rumor circulating that involved Michael.

“She was clearly upset about the dispute,” Morris said. “But the evidence demonstrated that she was in control and acted in anger when she poured the lethal mixture over her husband and wanted to exact vengeance.”

Morris claimed that “[Smith’s] actions were deliberate and considered.” The CPS member continued, saying that “the jury has agreed with us and found her guilty. This is a tragic case that has devastated the family of Mr. and Mrs. Baines and our thoughts remain with them.”