Mother and partner convicted following the death of 21-month-old girl


A mother has today been found guilty of child cruelty and the murder of her 21-month-old daughter Ayeeshia, known as AJ. Her partner at the time has been found guilty of allowing the death of a child.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard how on 1 May 2014, Kathryn Smith, aged 23, made a 999 call asking for emergency assistance for AJ who had stopped breathing.

Paramedics arrived at her property in Stretton, Burton-on-Trent to find the mother's 22-year-old partner, Matthew Rigby, attempting resuscitation of AJ.

The toddler was rushed to hospital but the injuries she had sustained were too serious and her life could not be saved.

A post mortem examination revealed that AJ had numerous bruises to her body and severe injuries to her heart which caused her death.

The defendants were subsequently arrested and when questioned by the police they were unable to account for what had happened to the little girl and how she had sustained fatal injuries.

Smith has today been found guilty of murder and child cruelty, and Rigby was found guilty of allowing the death of a child.

Wendy Bounds, Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said:

"We all recognise the responsibility and duty that rests with parents and those having the care of children to love, protect and nurture them. No child should suffer at the hands of those who should be caring for her; no child should be the victim of broken bones or serious injury caused by violent assault by those caring for her. That is precisely what happened to AJ in the eight months or so leading up to her death.

"Today, a measure of justice has been obtained for AJ, but sadly this cannot bring her back and our thoughts go out to her family at this time."