In May 2014, 21 month-old Ayeeshia Jane Smith died at the hands of her parents, Kathryn Smith, 23, and Matthew Rigby, 22, after an autopsy revealed she had received “a wound to her heart caused by a powerful chest stamp which led to cardiac arrest. She also sustained a bruising to her back, buttocks, head, neck, eyelid and leg”.
Kathryn and Matthew both negate executing the crime which occurred at the couple’s home in Burton-upon-Trent home.
A former neighbor of the couple, Tracey Robert testified she “heard a child’s voice screaming ‘stop mummy, stop daddy!’ just days before young Ayeeshia’s tragic death”.
According to a post-mortem carried out on the child’s body, it revealed she suffered a cardiac arrest, triggered by a laceration to her heart; the injury it was concluded was caused by a powerful foot stamp on her chest.
Tracey’s testimony spurred the judge to request for any tapes of emergency calls made from Ayeeshia’s family home. Both parents of the late-child broke down in court as they listened to their trepidating 999 call being played to the jury.
The tape revealed:
“A distraught Smith could be heard crying uncontrollably as she told the female operator toddler Ayeeshia Jane Smith had stopped breathing after having a seizure at their family home in Stretton, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.
‘It’s my daughter, she’s had a seizure. She’s not breathing. She’s seizing,’ the young mother was heard saying.
‘She’s on the floor. She has a seizure when she gets too hot.’
As Mr Rigby performed CPR in the background, Smith then said: ‘There’s nothing. She’s gone, she’s gone. You need to be here.’
The mobile phone was then put on loudspeaker as the call handler instructed Rigby to put his finger in his daughter’s mouth to try and remove any obstructions to her airway.
He can be heard counting to five repeatedly while performing chest compressions on the little girl as her mother wails in the background. Smith then says: ‘Nothing’s happening. There’s no heart beat,’ before hanging up”.
The toddler who died at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital on May 1, 2014 was also found to have sustained a ‘large bruise to her back and buttocks, bruising to her head, neck, left eyelid and left leg’ on the day she died.
The couple attempted to perform CPR on Ayeeshia after they had called 999 emergency service who gave them instructions down the phone.
Attending paramedic, Marcus Bailey of West Midlands Ambulance Service was the first on the scene having arrived their home at 4:10PM.
He testified in court:
“I saw a lady standing in the doorway, she looked distressed. She ushered me into the living room. The place looked reasonably well-kept and I didn’t hear any shouting that I can recall. My initial vision was the adult male performing CPR on the child.
The child was laid on the floor, flat on her back on a fluffy blanket. She was naked in front of the fireplace. She looked incredibly pale. I instructed the male to stand to one side so I could start treatment. When I touched the child I noticed how cold she was, it was unusually cold. There was blueness around the extremities which indicates a lack of oxygen in the body. I didn’t observe any markings to the child.
I overheard a comment from them that there was a five-minute delay in calling an ambulance because they thought they could handle the situation themselves. I started chested compressions and my colleague put a tube in her mouth to try and get some oxygen into her. We gave her adrenaline but there was no heart rhythm at all. She was flat-lining. We conveyed her to the ambulance and drove to hospital.
The female was in the front and the male was in the back with myself and a colleague as we continued resuscitation. There was a full team waiting for us when we arrived and I was still at the hospital when I later heard the child had died”.
Mr Bailey also added that while he was at their home, Smith had informed him he had ‘heard a thud’ in his daughter’s bedroom and that ‘Ayeesha had previously suffered a febrile convulsion’ which is a common seizure in children.
Another attending paramedic on the scene, Mark Chiles said: “The mother appeared very distraught and said ‘do something, do something’. It was mentioned the child had had a couple of seizures in the past. The male said that the child had taken herself off to bed and they heard a scream. He said went in and found her purple and she started to twitch and then went limp. Her skin was white and waxy when we got there and she was very cold”.
Smith who was spotted wearing a grey hoodie, dark leggings and glasses, sat with her head in her hands sobbing and wiping her face with a tissue as the audio played in the courtroom. Rigby, sitting beside her in a white unbuttoned shirt and black jeans, also turned his face away and wept.
Ayeeshia was previously taken away from Ms Smith by social services and was only returned to her mother six months before her death.
At yesterday’s opening day of the trial, Prosecutor Christopher Hotten said: ‘No child, certainly under the age of two, should suffer bruising at the hands of those who should be caring for her. However, that is precisely what we say happened to Ayeeshia in the eight months or so these two people were jointly looking after her. We say there was a consistent pattern of non-accidental bruising that must have happened when one or both were looking after Ayeeshia and about which both must have known. A post-mortem examination revealed Ayeeshia had suffered a fatal wound to her heart and had three broken ribs”.
Some parents want kids but can’t have them, others kill the ones they have. What an irony!