Stoke & Staffordshire

Ayeeshia Jane Smith was an 'angel', accused mother tells court

Ayeeshia Jane Smith
Image caption Ayeeshia Jane Smith was 21 months old when she died in May 2014

A mother accused of murdering her daughter has described the 21-month-old as "her angel" and "the love of her life".

Ayeeshia Jane Smith died at her home in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, when her heart was torn by a forceful stamp, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Her mother, Kathryn Smith, told police Ayeeshia's broken ribs happened during CPR and she was bruised from a fall.

Ms Smith and her partner Matthew Rigby, 22, both from Nottingham, deny murder.

More updates on the Ayeeshia Jane Smith murder trial

Image caption Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court charged with murder, causing Ayeeshia's death and child cruelty

Transcripts of the pair's police interviews conducted shortly after Ayeeshia's death in May 2014 were read out to the jury.

When asked to account for a large bruise on her daughter's back, Ms Smith said she got it falling off her potty.

Ms Smith said the toddler's three broken ribs must have been caused by medics at Burton's Queens Hospital giving her CPR on the night she collapsed and where she later died.

In another passage, she told police: "She was the love of my life. She'd lie with me, stroke my hair. It's something I'll never get back...she was an angel".

Mr Rigby told police Ayeeshia had suffered a number of seizures in the months before her death.

On the night in question she turned purple, he said in interview.

"She was a darling, a star. She didn't deserve this at all," he said.

Ms Smith, of Sandfield Road, Nottingham and Mr Rigby, of Sloan Drive, Nottingham have also pleaded not guilty to allowing or causing a child's death and child cruelty.

The trial continues.

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