A mother has been found guilty of murdering her 21-month-old daughter, who died with injuries likened to those of a car crash victim.
Kathryn Smith, 23, was also convicted of cruelty to a child relating to Ayeeshia Jane Smith’s death in 2014.
Her partner Matthew Rigby, 22, was cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the child’s death in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.
The pair had repeatedly protested their innocence at Birmingham Crown Court.
But the jury decided Smith was the one who delivered the fatal blow, which pathologists said was probably a “stamp” that tore her heart.
After the verdicts were returned, the judge, Mrs Justice Geraldine Andrews, told jurors they would be excused from future jury service because of the upsetting nature of the evidence they had heard.
Killer mum and partner ‘in it together’
Smith and Rigby will be sentenced on Monday.
Ayeeshia, who the jury heard was known as AJ, collapsed at the couple’s home in Britannia Drive in May 2014.
The court heard she had a heart injury usually seen in people who have fallen off buildings or been in a car crash.
Pathologists found 16 separate injuries on her body, including a historical bleed on the brain.
Analysis by Peter Wilson, BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent
Some children’s charities are already comparing this death with the notorious Baby Peter case.
There was a pattern of non-accidental injuries stretching back to the time Ayeeshia was returned to the care of her mother. She had thrived while in foster care but was malnourished and at the bottom of the child weight charts by the time of her death.
In hindsight, professionals seem to have missed a number of red-flag moments that should have alerted them to step in, especially a life-threatening event when the toddler collapsed and was rushed to hospital three months before her death.
Children’s Services were not even aware she required resuscitation. The diagnosis of a febrile convulsion had actually come from the child’s mother, not from any expert. No tests were carried out on Ayeeshia, which would have shown the brain and spinal column bleed she had suffered, likely caused by violent shaking.
A serious case review by Derbyshire County Council is under way and it won’t be known until its publication what mistakes, if any, were made.
The pair, who have since split up but both now live in Nottingham, insisted in court they had nothing to do with the toddler’s …read more
Source:: BBC UK