Kathryn Smith to be sentenced over murder of toddler daughter Ayeeshia


A mother convicted of murder after stamping her toddler daughter to death at the family home will be sentenced later.

Kathryn Smith was found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday after a six-week trial which heard how little Ayeeshia Jane Smith had died of a fatal heart laceration on May 1 2014.

Jurors also convicted Smith, aged 23, of child cruelty and her 22-year-old ex-partner Matthew Rigby of causing or allowing the death of vulnerable 21-month-old Ayeeshia.

Smith shook her head and began weeping after the jury of five women and seven men delivered their majority verdict.

She is now facing the prospect of a mandatory life sentence and had been told to expect a starting point for her minimum term behind bars of 15 years.

Rigby, who was cleared of murder and child cruelty by the jury, is also facing a significant jail term.

Ayeeshia was known to Derbyshire social services from birth and had been in care for a brief period from mid-2013, before she was returned to her mother's custody.

However, it emerged after the child's death that she suffered an undiagnosed bleed on the brain during a collapse in February 2014, despite being taken to hospital at the time.

A post mortem also later found other injuries, including extensive bruising on the young girl's spine which her cannabis-using mother and stepfather Rigby had claimed was caused by falling off her plastic potty.

After the pair's convictions on Friday, Ricky Booth, the child's natural father, said in a court statement: "It's pure evil, no punishment is good enough and nothing will bring AJ back and I will always be left with the guilt that I wasn't able to protect her."

Smith, of Sandfield Road, and Rigby, of Sloan Drive, both in Nottingham, had denied having anything to do with the child's death.

Addressing a shocked-looking Smith and Rigby in the court dock on Friday, Mrs Justice Geraldine Andrews told them: "The jury have found you guilty of very serious offences.

"I will spend some time considering what sentence to pass, and those sentences will be passed on Monday.

"Inevitably those sentences are going to be custodial ones."