Woman 'Doesn't Mind' That Her Double-Murderer Fiancé Could Kill Her
A British woman set to marry a double murderer from the US has admitted that she knows that he might someday kill her- but that she doesn't mind one bit.
Tracy Bottomley, 41 - who The Sun reports to be from Shipley, West Yorkshire - has never met her incarcerated fiancé before, but says she is prepared to deal with all the complications that accompany being married to a convicted killer.
Her husband-to-be, Ernest Otto Smith, was jailed for life in 2006 after being convicted for the double murder of a man and a woman.
Tracy says she first began talking to Ernest through a prison pen-pal scheme in 2018. The two lovebirds quickly connected with each other and soon fell madly in love.
She explained: "Ernest doesn't scare me - I've never been someone who gets frightened easily.
"Yes, he is a serial killer, he's committed a few murders, but I understand the risks of what could happen and I still love him."
According to Tracy, the pair of them bonded over shared trauma from the abuse they both suffered.
She continued: "He spoke about what he'd been through and how he was a victim of child abuse, which led to him using drugs to battle his depression and anxiety.
"I've been in an abusive relationship before and the way he spoke about how his experiences as a child changed him really resonated with me.
"Being killed isn't the best way to go, but everybody dies one day. I'm going to die eventually and I don't mind the fact it could be at the hands of him."
Tracy says she had been single for three years following a string of unsuccessful relationships and a failed marriage in 2003. She first became interested in Ernest after reading about his crimes, which were described in detail in his personal ad.
She said: "I wanted to get to know him, so I sent my details through and a few days later, I got an email from him."
After the connection had been made, it didn't take long before the two were emailing each other at least three times a day.
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Eventually they spoke on the phone and the killer described how he had murdered his victims, James Dillingham and Cathy Barnett.
Tracy said: "He told me step by step how he murdered each one of his victims and why.
"Hearing him talk about it on the phone, I could hear the emotion in his voice as he reflected on what he'd done.
"Ernest doesn't sound like a murderer - you can't hear anything crazy in his voice, he regrets what he's done."
Smith robbed, shot and then killed James Tillingham in Toledo, Ohio on January 2005, aided by his accomplice Cathy Barnett.
But fearing that she would tell the police of his crimes, Smith later killed Barnett too, first by attempting to break her neck and then eventually beating her to death with a tree branch.
He was eventually convicted in March 2006 and sentenced to 32 years in solitary confinement in prison.
In letters written to Tracy from his cell in Ohio State Penitentiary, he wrote: "Girl, do you know how happy you make me? Where have you been all my life?
"I'm falling in love with you, girl, I feel like you were meant to find me."
Tracy plans to fly out to the US next year to finally meet Ernest and marry the convicted murderer.
She admitted: "I'm still in shock that Ernest proposed, I didn't see it coming at all but I love him so obviously I said yes.
"He's writing a book about how child abuse can turn people into serial killers based on his own experience. And he's even mentioning me in a few chapters.
"People always ask me if I'm scared at the thought of what he could do to me. But I'm not scared of Ernest at all - I love him."
Smith has written a book about his life called Against the Current.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS