Toddler heard screaming “stop mummy, stop daddy” days before she was stamped to death

Matthew Rigby & Kathryn Smith outside Birmingham Crown Court (SWNS Group)

A 21-month-old girl was heard screaming “stop mummy, stop daddy” just days before she was stamped to death by one of her parents, a court heard.

Matthew Rigby & Kathryn Smith outside Birmingham Crown Court (SWNS Group)
Matthew Rigby & Kathryn Smith outside Birmingham Crown Court (SWNS Group)

Mum Kathryn Smith, 23, and her partner Matthew Rigby, 22, are accused of murdering their daughter Ayeeshia Jane Smith.

A court heard the tragic tot died from a laceration to her heart that was caused by a powerful foot stamp on her chest, which triggered a cardiac arrest.

Ayeeshia had only been returned to Smith six months before her death on May 1, 2014, having previously been taken into care by social services.

The youngster was also found with other injuries including a large bruise to her back and buttocks, bruising to her head, neck, left eyelid and left leg.

The pair – who have since split up – deny murdering the toddler at their home in Stretton, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs.

Prosecutor Christopher Hotten said: “No child, certainly under the age of two, should suffer bruising at the hands of those who should be caring for her.

“However, that is precisely what we say happened to Ayeeshia in the eight months or so these two people were jointly looking after her.

“We say there was a consistent pattern of non-accidental bruising that must have happened when one or both were looking after Ayeeshia and about which both must have known.”
NTI_BABY_KILLERS_07Birmingham Crown Court heard Smith called 999 at around 4pm on May 1, 2014, and told an operator Ayeeshia was barely breathing.

The youngster was declared dead at 5pm at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital where the couple told doctors Ayeeshia had suffered a seizure.

But Mr Hotten said a post-mortem examination revealed she had suffered a fatal wound to her heart and had three broken ribs.

He added: “The likely mechanism was a forceful stamp to her chest as she lay down.”

On Tuesday (1/3) neighbour Tracey Roberts told the jury she frequently heard arguing and loud noises coming from the couple’s flat in Britannia Drive, in Burton-on-Trent.

She said: “I heard what sounded like an argument, and screaming, then I heard what I thought was a child’s voice.

“It was a short, different voice, and sounded young. I could hear the voice say ‘stop mummy, stop daddy’ and sounded upset.”

Ms Roberts said she had left the flat to go shopping at around 1.30pm on the day the tot died and saw Smith in the car park.

She later returned and put her shopping away and believes that around 3.05pm to 3.10pm she heard shouting coming from next door within the flat.

She heard a man shouting in a raised voice for about five minutes but heard nothing more until a police officer knocked on her door at around 5pm.

The court also heard Smith made three 999 calls to the police in the weeks leading up to the death of her daughter Ayeeshia.

She called the police at 9.27pm on March 11, and at around 5am and 7am on April 4, 2014.

During the 5am call Smith told the 999 responder that her partner, Rigby, was going to cut himself and blame her.

Later, Smith told police: “He is getting me killed within a week.”

PC Jonathan Minshull, of Staffordshire Police, revealed during a visit to the flat he had been told by Smith that Rigby had made threats to kill her and had damaged Ayeeshia’s cot by setting fire to it.

Gary Phillips, a watch manager at Burton Fire Station, also told the court that while visiting their home he noticed a distinct smell of cannabis and that Smith ‘was very glazed over’ and slow to respond to conversation.

Her daughter was in the flat at the time.

Mr Phillips later sent an email to the officer in charge of fire safety concerned about the property.

Smith and Rigby, both from Nottingham, deny murder, causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty to a child.


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