Heartless mum who stood by and let boyfriend beat her two-year-old son to death jailed in Manchester

By Dean Wilkins

A negligent mum who allowed her two-year-old to be beaten to death by her boyfriend was jailed for four years in Manchester today.

Kirsty Smedley, 24, of Bolton, was found guilty at an earlier hearing of allowing the death of a child after her son Rio was murdered by partner Daniel Rigby.

Rigby, 23, of Dorset Avenue Tyldesley, Wigan was sentenced to life imprisonment last month after a series of brutal beatings left Rio with shocking fatal injuries – he must serve a minimum of 17 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Reade said: “This is a shocking case in which an innocent and defenceless little boy has suffered appalling injuries at the hands of someone who had been trusted to look after him.

“Although Daniel and Kirsty have now both been jailed for their involvement in Rio’s death, this will go little way to ease the suffering of Rio’s family, who have lost their beloved little boy under such tragic circumstances.”

Smedley left her two-year-old son Rio in the care of Rigby at her home in Breightmet on April 21.

Rigby had moved back into the house the day before, when he and Smedley had got back together after being separated for several weeks.

Rigby took Rio to visit some of his relatives and at around 6.30pm, he called Smedley to say that Rio had fallen off an armchair and banged his head, which had caused a red mark.

Later that evening, Rigby phoned Smedley again to tell her that whilst playing with a young child at the house of another relative, Rio had been hit with a toy sword.

Rigby then returned home a short time later with Rio.

The next day Rio was again left in Rigby’s care at their home in Breightmet while Smedley went to visit relatives and friends.

At 4.15pm, Smedley made a call to Rigby who told her that Rio had fallen down the stairs. During calls and text messages over the next hour Rigby told her that Rio had become floppy and unresponsive.

Smedley arrived back at the home address at around 5.25pm where Rio was in a collapsed state. She rang 999 and under instruction from the emergency services operator, gave CPR to the two-year-old boy.

Paramedics went to the address on Cheriton Drive and Rio was rushed to hospital, where he sadly died a short time later.

A Home Office post-mortem examination established that Rio died from severe abdominal injuries, which were non-accidental.

Rio had a total of 91 injuries and bruises to his body, the vast majority of which are believed to have been sustained within the 24 hours prior to his death.

Rigby claimed that the bruising and marks to Rio’s body had been caused accidentally whilst he had been visiting friends and relatives on the Saturday, but further police enquires revealed this to be untrue.

During her sentencing her, Mr Justice MacKay told Smedley: “At no stage did you do anything to protect Rio from his fate and he must have suffered greatly before his death.

“You should never have left him that night. It was quite clear that Rio was at risk.

“You were infatuated with Rigby at the time and I think you still are, or at least during the trial.

“At the top of your list was a need to please [Rigby].”

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