Published On: Sun, Mar 6th, 2016

Toddler ‘Only Ate Snacks’ On Day Of Murder

The trial of a mother and her partner accused of murdering her toddler has heard the child had only eaten a packet of crisps, a biscuit and a yoghurt on the day she died.

Toddler 'Only Ate Snacks

Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby are jointly accused of killing 21-month-old Ayeeshia Jane Smith and separately of causing or allowing her death.

Ayeeshia died at the family home in May 2014 after suffering a laceration to her heart thought to have been caused by a strong foot stamp on her chest, say prosecutors.

A post-mortem examination found the toddler had suffered a bleed on the brain in the months before her death, linked to an incident in which Ayeeshia was admitted to hospital after collapsing in February that year.

During the examination, further injuries were also discovered including a large bruise to her back and buttocks, bruising to her neck, head, left eyelid and left leg.

Birmingham Crown Court heard from Detective Sergeant James Brady of Staffordshire Police who spoke to Smith at Burton-upon-Trent’s Queen’s Hospital hours after the child’s death.

Smith said her daughter had “snacked on a yoghurt, a chocolate biscuit and Quavers” by the afternoon of May 1, he said.

He added: “I was told she had her last meal the night before at Matthew’s grandparents’ house in Nottingham.”

Smith, 23, said Ayeeshia had suffered three “over-heating fits” since the start of 2014, and that on two of those occasions an ambulance was called to the home in Burton, Mr Brady claimed.

On the day of the child’s death, the officer said Smith told him she had left Ayeeshia on the potty and went to the kitchen, while 22-year-old Rigby was outside in the garden.

Mr Brady said: “Mum went into the kitchen to get some juice and returning back then found the child with blue lips, and fitting.”

He was asked by prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC if Smith had presented the fits as being similar to those the child had suffered previously.

The detective replied: “Yes, it was described as the same as before, implying it was the same as the previous fits.”

Jurors have previously heard the toddler was taken into care by social services in May 2013 following concerns for her welfare, but had been returned to her mother’s care in October that year.

Smith and Rigby deny the charges and the trial continues.