Stoke & Staffordshire

PM's pledge over Ayeeshia Jane Smith serious case review

Kathryn Smith Image copyright PA
Image caption Kathryn Smith was jailed for at least 24 years

David Cameron has pledged to examine concerns over the independence of a serious case review after a woman stamped her toddler to death.

Kathryn Smith, 23, was jailed for 24 years after murdering Ayeeshia Jane Smith, aged 21 months, in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, in May 2014.

Stepfather Matthew Rigby, 22, was given three years and six months for causing or allowing the death of a child.

The Prime Minister said "no punishment in the world..fits that sort of crime".

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Ayeeshia died after suffering a fatal heart laceration - a type of injury usually only found in crash victims.

The trial heard Derbyshire County Council was aware of the toddler from birth and her father has raised concerns for her safety with social services in the weeks leading up to her death.

A serious case review into her death is under way.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Ayeeshia Jane Smith died from a tear to the heart in May 2014

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths raised the matter in Prime Minister's Questions and called on Mr Cameron to make such reviews more independent.

He added: "[Social services] knew about the violent boyfriends, they knew about the domestic violence, they saw the doors kicked in, they smelt the cannabis, they saw the bruises, they saw the cuts, they saw the fingerprints on her little thighs - and they did nothing.

"People in Burton want to know how this could have happened, yet they are concerned to know that the serious case review has on its panel people who are directly involved in the organisations being investigated."

Responding to Mr Griffiths, the prime minister said the description of the child's death "simply took your breath away".

He added: "I'll look very carefully at the suggestions that you make, I know [Education Secretary Nicky Morgan] will do so as well.

"There are criticisms of the way these cases are done but I think to start with in this case we must get on with the serious case review because we've got to get to the bottom of what went wrong."

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