Brit divorcee is unafraid of death ahead of wedding to US double murderer
An unlucky-in-love Brit believes shes found the one after falling for a convicted double murderer serving life in solitary confinement.
Divorced Tracy Bottomley, 41, said she had no romantic intentions when she first responded to a Facebook prison pen pal advert for contact with Ernest Otto Smith.
He is currently locked away in Ohio State Penitentiary without parole for brutally murdering a man and woman in 2005.
The pair plan to tie the knot in 2020 – despite having never met in person.
Tracy, of Shipley, West Yorkshire, said: Ernest doesnt scare me – Ive never been someone who gets frightened easily.
Yes he is a serial killer, hes committed a few murders, but I understand the risks of what could happen and I still love him.
Weve got a good relationship, we understand each other and I look forward to the moments where I get to hear from him.
Im not scared of death, Ive lost lots of family, and everybody dies eventually, thats a fact of life.
Im going to die one day, I could die tomorrow from being allergic to something, I could go outside and get beaten up, you just dont know.
Being killed isnt the best way to go, but everybody dies one day, Im going to die eventually and I dont mind the fact it could be at the hands of him.
Unemployed Tracy had been single for three years after a string of failed relationships and the collapse of her marriage in 2003.
She said: Ernests advert did detail his crimes so I knew that hed been jailed for life for killing two people.
But he also spoke about what hed been through, and how he was a victim of child abuse which led to him using drugs to battle his depression and anxiety.
Ive been in an abusive relationship before, and the way he spoke about how his experiences as a child changed him really resonated with me.
I connected to his problems, and I was interested in finding out more about what hed been through.
I wanted to get to know him, so I sent my details through and a few days later, I got an email from him.
The pair began emailing each other three times a day as they bonded over bad experiences they endured when they were younger.
After six weeks of daily communication, Ernest asked if he could call her and Tracy agreed.
He told her about his children and his tattoo shop in Toledo, and also the macabre details of his crimes.
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 hed done.
Ernest isnt happy that he is known as a killer, hes ashamed of being a murderer. Hes doing his time and you can tell he is remorseful for what hes done.
He doesnt sound like a murderer, you cant hear anything crazy in his voice, he regrets what hes done but it has happened and he cant change the past.
Smith, 52, was accompanied by Cathy Barnett, when he robbed, shot and killed James Dillingham in Toledo, Ohio, on January 2, 2005.
Five days later he grew fearful she would report him to police and beat her to death with a branch.