Tyldesley man denies murdering two-year-old Rio Smedley

Rio Smedley

Rio Smedley

First published in North West

A TYLDESLEY man has denied murdering his girlfriend’s two-year-old son.

Rio Smedley died with 91 separate injuries after being punched, kicked and stamped on by his mother’s boyfriend, Manchester Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

The toddler’s injuries were like to have been caused by ‘heavy blows’ from ‘punches, kicks, knees and stamping’, a jury of six men and six women was told.

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

Rigby, aged 23, of Shakerley, denies murdering Rio and claims he fell downstairs 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 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: “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.

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 out.

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

He did not eat his tea and he was sick.

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, 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 downstairs.

She arrived home at 5.30pm to find Rio not moving. He was rushed to hospital but medical staff were unable to save him.

Mr Phillips said: “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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