Ayeeshia Jane Smith: Mother called daughter 'stupid' in interview days after 'stamping her to death', court hears

Kathryn Smith and her partner Matthew Rigby deny harming the child

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The Independent Online

A mother accused of stamping her daughter to death told police that the “stupid” child caused her own injuries by falling off a potty, a court has heard.

Transcripts of Kathryn Smith’s police interviews were read to the jury at Birmingham Crown Court, where she and her partner are on trial for murder.

They both deny harming Ayeeshia Jane Smith, who died aged 21 months of a fatal laceration to her heart, which pathologists claim may have been caused by a powerful stamp.

Days after her death in May 2014, her mother was questioned about extensive bruising found on her body and claimed she “fell back on her potty”.

Ayeeshia Jane Smith was admitted several times to Queen's Hospital in Burton-upon-Trent with her injuries, the court heard

“It was the potty and sometimes she would fall back on it - she was that stupid,” Smith told officers,the Daily Mail reported.

In another interview excerpt, she called her daughter an "angel" and "the love of my life".

Matthew Rigby, who is jointly accused of murder, told police he “never raised a hand” to Ayeeshia when interviewed under caution.

When detectives asked if he had caused any of the numerous injuries found on the child, which have been compared to that usually seen on car crash victims, he replied: “F*** off. How dare you?

"She's not even my child, I've never raised a hand to her."

Matthew Rigby, 22, outside Birmingham Crown Court

The 22-year-old said he had been outside tidying the garden while Smith was in the kitchen that afternoon of her death.

Rigby told the court he heard Ayeeshia cry as he washed his hands and found lying apparently lifeless in her cot.

As he went into the bedroom, he saw the toddler was "purple", "very pale", and "floppy" when he picked her up.

Rigby said he carried her into the front room of their flat in Britannia Drive, Burton-upon-Trent, and began CPR while Smith dialled 999.

Rigby said he thought he saw signs of life and ”movement“ in the girl, and thought she tried to swallow some water but she appeared not to be breathing.

Saying Ayeeshia had an undiagnosed milk intolerance causing a calcium deficiency, he said he may have caused injuries carrying out CPR on the laminate floor.

"Her ribs would have been like paper," he said. ”You say it's not (caused by) CPR but I'll tell you until I'm blue in the face that it is."

Asked about his relationship with 23-year-old Smith, Rigby described it as "brilliant", describing how they met in a block of flats in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, and had become a “family”.

Asked if Smith might have inflicted the injuries on her daughter, he replied: "I couldn't physically sleep next to a woman capable of that."

The court previously heard that Ayeeshia was known to social services and that health workers and hospital staff failed to spot a “concerning pattern” of injuries.

Smith, of Sandfield Road, Nottingham and Rigby, of Sloan Drive, Nottingham, also deny causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty to a child. The trial continues.