Rio Smedley: A short and tragic life

The Bolton News: Daniel Rigby getting on a bus with Rio the day before the toddler was killed Daniel Rigby getting on a bus with Rio the day before the toddler was killed

THAT night Rio was left alone with Rigby for an hour while Smedley went to the chip shop.

The youngster was sick and overslept the next day, which was unusual.

Rigby took Rio out and, when he returned home, the youngster had a large bruise on his bottom.

He went to his grandmother’s in Tyldesley and his sister’s in Leigh. They both gave evidence and said Rio seemed “fine”.

Rigby had sent Smedley a text message and told her not to panic and that Rio had been hit with a plastic sword by another child.

On the Sunday, Rio slept in again. He also went into the garden, but did not play.

Rigby, who had been smoking cannabis, was left in charge of Rio while Smedley went to her mother’s to do some washing and to get some money.

While she was out, Rigby sent her a text message asking her to call, which she did, and he told her to come home because 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.

She tried to borrow £2 from her mother so she could get a taxi, but she was unable to get the money, so she rushed home on foot.

Smedley arrived at about 5.25pm, where she found Rio collapsed.

She rang 999 and, under instruction from the operator, gave her child CPR.

Paramedics took Rio to hospital, but he died a short time later.

Rio’s mother ‘infatuated’ with killer

RIO Smedley had 91 injuries — the majority of which are believed to have been inflicted in the 24 hours before his death.

He received a blow to the abdomen so heavy it caused his liver to split in half. The youngster also had bruises all over his body.

Rigby was found guilty of the murder in November, 2012, and jailed for life with a minimum of 17 years.

A trial at Manchester Crown Court also found Rio’s mother, Kirsty Smedley, guilty of allowing or causing the death of a child.

The prosecution said she had failed to protect her son from Rigby — a man she had previously reported to police for violently attacking her while she was pregnant.

She was jailed for four years.

The court had heard that “infatuated” Smedley put her desire to please Rigby ahead of Rio.

Smedley, now 25 years old, knew her son received two nasty injuries to his backside and head the day before in Rigby’s sole care.

But she still left Rio alone with Rigby while she went out to get cash to buy cannabis for her boyfriend.

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