Rio Smedley murder: Mother jailed over toddler death

Kirsty Smedley
Image caption Kirsty Smedley said Rio had fallen down some steps

A mother has been jailed for four years for her part in the death of her two-year-old son in an "extremely violent attack" at his Greater Manchester home.

Kirsty Smedley, 24, from Bolton, was found guilty of allowing or causing the death of a child during the trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Her boyfriend, Daniel Rigby, 23, was sentenced to life imprisonment in November for the murder of Rio Smedley.

Rio was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital but died of a ruptured liver.

'Suffered greatly'

Smedley had called 999 on 22 April to report that Rio was not moving after he had "fallen down four steps and banged his head" at their home in Cheriton Drive, Breightmet, in Bolton.

During the trial a medical expert testified the injuries could not have been caused by a fall and the prosecution accused Rigby of "striking Rio with such force as to split his liver in two" during a "sustained and violent attack".

The court heard Smedley knew her son received two injuries the day before in Rigby's sole care but left her home in Bolton to get cash to buy cannabis for her boyfriend.

Rigby, 23, of Dorset Avenue Tyldesley, Wigan, had denied "losing his rag" with the toddler because he was having to look after him instead of going to his sister's house to smoke cannabis.

Image caption Daniel Rigby had tried to blame Rio Smedley's injuries on his grandmother's dogs

He had claimed his grandmother Doreen Rigby's dogs caused the toddler to fall off a chair and bang his head the day before he died, but Mrs Rigby denied Rio was injured during the visit to her house in Tyldesley, Wigan.

Sentencing Smedley, Mr Justice MacKay said the jury's verdict meant they were sure she knew or ought to have known there was a significant risk of serious harm to her son.

He told her: "At no stage did you do anything to protect Rio from his fate.

"He must have suffered greatly before his death.

"You should never have left him that night. It was quite clear that Rio was at risk."

A post-mortem examination revealed Rio died from the ruptured liver and had 91 separate marks of injury on his body.

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