Toddler Rio had 91 injuries, court told

LITTLE Rio Smedley died with 91 separate injuries after being punched, kicked and stamped on by his mother’s boyfriend, a court heard.

The two-year-old’s injuries were likely to have been caused by "heavy blows" from "punches, kicks, knees and stamping", a jury of six men and six women at Manchester Crown Court was told.

Rio, of Cheriton Drive, Breightmet. had been left alone with Daniel Rigby, who is accused of his murder.

Rigby, aged 23, of no fixed address, Tyldesley, denies murdering Rio and claims he fell down the stairs while in his care.

Rio’s mother, Kirsty Smedley, aged 24, is charged with allowing the youngster’s death after failing to take steps to protect him, which she denies.

Simon Phillips, prosecuting, told the court that Rio was repeatedly punched and possibly slapped within 24 hours of his death on April 22.

He said pathologist, Dr Naomi Carter, had concluded Rio had died as a direct result of blood loss from a liver injury that had been caused by one or more heavy blows to the abdomen.

Mr Phillips said: “The injury was sustained shortly before he died and probably within an hour of his death.

“Many of the bruises on his body indicated that Rio had been repeatedly punched and possibly slapped, pinched or prodded.

Rio’s feet had either been punched or stamped upon. Some of the bruises indicated heavy impact with solid surfaces or objects.”

The prosecution said Rigby had at the “very least intended to cause Rio’s death or serious injury”.

Mr Phillips added: “This incident was the culmination of a course of ill-treatment and violent conduct towards the child.”

The court was told Rigby had attacked Smedley in March and she reported it to the police.

It was alleged that he punched Smedley, who was five months pregnant at the time, in the face.

On another occasion, the court heard, Rigby pushed her into a door and headbutted her.

He was bailed but not allowed to contact her.

She later withdraw her statement, and on April 20 — just 48 hours before Rio's death — no further action was taken by police and Rigby's bail conditions were cancelled.

He returned to her home and Smedley left Rio with Rigby for an hour while she went to visit a friend and pick up some food from the chip shop.

The court heard when she returned Rio had some red blotches on him.

He did not eat his tea and he was sick, which the jury was told was unusual.

The next day, Saturday, Smedley left Rio with Rigby for the day and when she returned back to the home Rio had some injuries.

He was given a bath and Smedley noticed a large bruise on his buttock, which Rigby said was caused by him falling off a chair or when another child hit him with a toy sword.

She later told police she was concerned and was going to take him to the doctors on Monday.

The following day, Sunday, Rio slept until 11am, which was unusual, and he went out in the garden but did not play.

The court heard Smedley went out to do some washing and get some money, leaving Rio alone with Rigby.

He sent her a text message, asking her to ring him urgently because Rio had fallen down the stairs.

She arrived home at 5.30pm to find Rio was not moving and his eyes sunk back into his head.

Smedley called 999 and he was rushed to hospital but the medical staff were unable to save him. Mr Phillips said: “It is the prosecution case that she did not adequately prioritise Rio’s welfare when it mattered significantly.

Whilst it is clear that at times she was concerned about Rio, at certain times when he was at serious risk she allowed that risk to continue.

“She had a responsibility as a mother to ensure the child was not exposed to violence, yet she failed to take adequate or reasonable obvious steps to protect Rio from it.”

The case continues.

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