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  1. Updates on Friday 8 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Our live coverage across the day

    Live updates for Staffordshire and Cheshire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

  2. Social services asked Smith not to see Rigby

    Birmingham Crown Court heard social services carried out five planned and unannounced visits in the month leading up to the toddler's death.

    The jury was also told there had been reports Rigby had threatened to burn down the family flat, although Smith later claimed "police got it wrong".

    Rather than initiate care proceedings again, Derbyshire County Council asked Smith to sign a voluntary agreement not to see Rigby - however, she refused.

    Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby

    A social worker visited on 17 April 17, reporting that Smith had refused an on-the-spot drugs test, despite a smell of cannabis at the flat.  

  3. Tonight on Midlands Today: Mother convicted of Ayeeshia Smith's murder

    Peter Wilson

    BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

    I've been at Birmingham Crown Court today as a mother has been found guilty of murdering her 21-month-old daughter in Burton. 

    Kathryn Smith, 23, was also convicted of cruelty to a child after Ayeeshia Jane Smith's death in 2014.

    Ayeeshia showing injuries she suffered

    Her ex-partner Matthew Rigby, 22, was cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the child's death. 

    I'll have a full report and look at what social services are doing now on Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.  

  4. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Comparisons made to Baby Peter case

    Peter Wilson

    BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

    Some children's charities are already comparing Ayeeshia Jane Smith's death with the notorious Baby Peter case (pictured).  

    There was a pattern of non-accidental injuries stretching back to the time Ayeeshia was returned to the care of her mother, the court heard. 

    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.  

    Peter Connelly

    In hindsight, professionals seem to have missed a number of red-flag moments that should have alerted them to step in.

    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.  

  5. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Mother told court she was a 'good mum'

    Rebecca Woods

    BBC News Online, Journalist

    In Matthew Rigby's attempts to give the impression of blissful family life, he described Ayeeshia in court as a "lovely little girl" who had had a positive impact on his life. 

    And Kathryn Smith insisted she was a "good mum", adding "I love AJ - I look after her."

    But the detailed evidence of brutality towards the little girl convinced the jury otherwise, as they convicted the mother of murdering her daughter and Rigby of allowing it to happen.  

  6. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Mother and stepfather 'in it together'

    Rebecca Woods

    BBC News Online, Journalist

    Birmingham Crown Court was told Kathryn Smith routinely put her own needs above those of her little daughter, freely having relationships with violent men and putting Ayeeshia at serious risk. 

    She even defended them when police and social services tried to intervene.  

    The home in Britannia Drive, Burton-upon-Trent

    Ayeeshia's mother insisted she had nothing to do with the girl's death. But the prosecution told the court she "knew what was going on" because the flat she shared with Rigby was so small and "she watched her like a hawk".

    "They were in it together. Neither was prepared to save Ayeeshia from her fate," the prosecutor said.

  7. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Toddler 'suffered greatly during her short life'

    Rebecca Woods

    BBC News Online, Journalist

    For 16 weeks of her short life, Ayeeshia Jane Smith thrived in the care of a foster family. But within months of being returned to her mother she was dead after suffering a catalogue of injuries likened to a car crash.  

    "We're a family. Families stick together," Matthew Rigby confidently told police officers as he tried to cover up how his partner's 21-month-old daughter met her violent death.  

    Ayeeshia Jane Smith

    The reality could not have been more different. Ayeeshia, known as AJ, suffered greatly during her short life, before dying at the hands of her mother Kathryn Smith, aided by her violent boyfriend.

    Sixteen separate injuries were found on the toddler's body. But it was a tear to her heart - probably caused by a stamp - that finally killed her on 1 May, 2014.

  8. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: 999 call by mother and stepfather

    Tom Warren

    BBC Local Live

    A 999 call made by Ayeeshia's mother and her partner has been released following the court case.

    In it, emergency call handlers direct the pair as  they claim to make attempts to save the toddler following her collapse.

  9. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Mother had 'history of troubled relationships'

    BBC Radio Stoke

    Jurors in the trial heard how Kathryn Smith had a history of troubled relationships.

    Concerns were raised in 2012 by social services about Smith's relationship with a man over domestic violence allegations and the impact that could have on Ayeeshia.

    Smith then began a relationship with former electrician Matthew Rigby, but the jury also heard evidence of their turbulent relationship. 

    In January 2014, there were reports of domestic incidents between Smith and Rigby, and a child protection medical was carried out on Ayeeshia after cuts to her chin and lip were seen, and a bald patch appeared on her head. 

  10. Watch: Ayeeshia Jane Smith - murdered toddler's injuries 'horrifying'

    BBC News UK

    Det Insp Andy Maxfield of Staffordshire Police has spoken to reporters about the ''heartbreaking'' injuries suffered by Ayeeshia Jane Smith, after her mother was found guilty of her murder.  

    Video content

    Video caption: Murdered Ayeeshia's injuries 'horrifying'
  11. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Toddler's ashes to be given to her father

    Peter Wilson

    BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

    Matthew Rigby and Kathryn Smith had been in a relationship right up until the start of the trial. 

    Smith gave a silver-coloured locket containing Ayeeshia's ashes to Rigby while at court. I understand he will give it to the baby's natural father.

  12. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Social services were aware of her from birth

    Allen Cook

    BBC Local Live

    The trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard social services were aware of Ayeeshia since her birth in July 2012. 

    Two child protection conferences were held in 2012 and the toddler was taken into care for a period by social services in mid-2013, being returned to her mother in October of that year. 

    Less than a month before her death, Derbyshire County Council social services had discussed taking the toddler into care, but instead offered Smith advice and support over fears she was a victim of a domestic abuse.

    Ayeeshia stayed with her mother, but at a safeguarding meeting the day before the her death it was agreed a domestic abuse professional would visit.  

  13. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Cannabis was kept in toddler's cup

    Peter Wilson

    BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

    Kathryn Smith is a regular cannabis user, the court was told, keeping her drugs in Ayeeshia's cup.

  14. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Toddler's injuries go unnoticed

    In the months leading up to the death of 21-month-old Ayeeshia Jane Smith, several injuries went unnoticed.

    3 February 2014: 

    - Ayeeshia is admitted to Queen's Hospital in Burton after collapsing at home, diagnosed by doctors at the time as a "febrile fit". 

    - A consultant paediatrician later told the jury this had all the hallmarks of an "apparent life-threatening event", which - if spotted - would have triggered a rigorous examination of the child's under-lying health. 

    23 April:

    - Smith takes her daughter to the child's health clinic for her two-year weight check, where the toddler measures 20lbs (9.14kg). However weight loss is over-looked because the health visitor does not have access to previous records.

    1 May:

     - A 999 call is made by Smith and Rigby following Ayeeshia's collapse at home. She is admitted to A&E at Burton hospital but dies. In all, pathologists later detect 16 separate injuries, some historical.

  15. Watch: Man jailed after train hit car on level crossing

    Jennifer Meierhans

    BBC News Online

    A man's been jailed after a train hit a car at a level crossing near Burton-upon-Trent.

    Video content

    Video caption: Man jailed after train hit car on level crossing near Burton upon Trent.

    British Transport said Jonathan Mather had driven his car on to the railway line at Clay Mills Crossing in July 2015, driving down the track and then abandoning it. 

    A CrossCountry passenger service carrying more than 40 people struck the empty car but was not derailed. Three people on board the train were treated for back pain.

    Mather, 36, of Pearl Close, Derby, pleaded guilty to endangering safety by obstructing the railway and breaching a suspended sentence - he was sentenced to a total of five years and eight months in jail.

  16. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Jurors in trial excused future jury service

    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.  

  17. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Father calls murder 'pure evil'

    Peter Wilson

    BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

    Ayeeshia Jane Smith's natural father Ricky Booth has described her murder as "pure evil".

    He's also said he is very angry and wishes she had been taken into care.

    Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby

    In a statement, Derbyshire County Council say all the agencies involved with Ayeeshia's family have contributed to a serious case review. 

    They say new information from the trial will now be considered before they can publish the findings of the review. 

  18. Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Mum had claimed toddler suffered seizure

    Rebecca Woods

    BBC News Online, Journalist

    Kathryn Smith had claimed her 21-month-old daughter Ayeeshia suffered a seizure before her death and suggested her bruised body was caused by falling off her potty.

    Pathologists found 16 separate injuries on her body, including a historical bleed on the brain. They ruled she died from a tear to a heart which was likely to have been caused by a "stamp".  

    Ayeeshia Jane Smith

    Her ex-partner Matthew Rigby - who was cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the child's death - had told Birmingham Crown Court it was possible the child's injuries were caused when he gave her CPR while on the phone to 999 operators.

    The pair had repeatedly protested their innocence at Birmingham Crown Court. They will be sentenced at the same court on Monday.

  19. News: Mum guilty of murder daughter; strangled toddler parents want others to check homes; man jailed for level crossing crash

    Chris King

    Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

    The top stories for Staffordshire and Cheshire this afternoon include:

    - A mother has been found guilty of murdering her 21-month-old daughter who died in Staffordshire with injuries likened to a car crash victim

    - The Staffordshire parents of a toddler who died after becoming tangled in the cord of a window blind say her death mustn't be in vain

    - A man's been jailed after a train hit a car at a level crossing near Burton-upon-Trent