Stoke & Staffordshire

Ayeeshia Jane Smith murder: Burton MP Andrew Griffiths calls for inquiry

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Media captionAyeeshia Jane Smith had "car crash-like injuries"

Social workers who allowed a mother to keep the 21-month-old daughter she later murdered should be the subject of a public inquiry, an MP has said.

Kathryn Smith, 23, was convicted of murder and cruelty to a child over the death of Ayeeshia Jane Smith at her flat in Burton upon Trent in 2014.

Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board will review the case. Ayeeshia was known to social services all her life.

But Burton MP Andrew Griffiths said an independent inquiry was needed.

Killer mum and partner 'in it together'

Comparing the case to that of Victoria Climbie and the death of Baby Peter, he said it was too serious to be looked at by local social services.

"Such a shocking and brutal death that raises so many questions about how social workers operate should not be placed in the hands of the local authority to investigate itself," he said.

"This child was known to social services from the very moment she was born, and throughout her life social workers were aware of the real danger that she was in.

"It's remarkable and deeply concerning that, given there appears to be such obvious signs of risk to her life, that social workers didn't intervene earlier and didn't take steps to take her from her mother."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby repeatedly denied having anything to do with the death

Mr Griffiths, who will call for an independent inquiry in Parliament, said an independent inquiry would examine "missed opportunities" to save Ayeeshia.

In June 2013, Ayeeshia had been placed with a foster family but sent back to live with her mother in October.

By this time Smith had begun a relationship with Matthew Rigby, who was cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the girl's death.

Ayeeshia died from a laceration to the heart on 1 May 2014.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard she had 16 separate injuries on her body, including a historical bleed on her brain.

Andrew Stokes, interim chairman of Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board, has confirmed it will carry out a review of how it monitored and responded to concerns over Ayeeshia.

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