“Wigan man murdered tot”

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A TWO-year-old boy who died with 91 separate injuries on his body was murdered by his mother’s violent Wigan boyfriend, a court heard.

The injuries to Rio Smedley 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.

Daniel Rigby, 23, of Somerset Avenue, Tyldesley, denies murdering Rio and claims he fell down the stairs while in his care.

Rio’s mother, Kirsty Smedley, 24, denies allowing or causing the death of a child.

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

Simon Phillips QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the court that Rio died on April 22 after his mother called 999 and reported he was not moving.

She told the emergency service he had “fallen down four steps and banged his head” at their home in Cheriton Drive, Breightmet, Bolton.

Rio was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital but later died of a ruptured liver.

Mr Phillips said: “The injury was not caused by any accidental fall down the stairs. It had been deliberately inflicted.

“The prosecution say it was inflicted by the defendant Daniel Rigby and that in fact Rio was murdered by him.”

The prosecution say Rio’s fatal injury was the “culmination of a course of ill-treatment and violent conduct towards the child”.

Mr Phillips said Smedley needed to be held responsible for allowing Rio to be put in danger and it was “her duty to protect him from harm”.

He said she “failed to take steps to ensure the safety of the child” and “she did nothing to prevent Rio being exposed to the risk of harm from Daniel Rigby” in that she would leave him in his unsupervised care.

The court was told that Naomi Carter, the pathologist who examined Rio, found 91 separate marks of injury including 40 bruises and abrasions to his head and face, 11 bruises and abrasions to his abdomen, a 9.5cm x 3.7cm bruise to his buttock, seven bruises and abrasions to both his arms, and 20 injuries to his legs and feet.

Mr Phillips said: “Dr Carter concluded that Rio had died as a direct consequence of blood loss from a liver injury that had been caused by one or more heavy blows to the abdomen, most likely from one or more punches, kicks, stampings or knee-ings.

“This injury was sustained shortly before he died, probably within an hour of his death. He had survived for a short period with circulatory collapse.

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

Some of the bruises indicated “heavy impacts” with “solid surfaces or objects”, the court heard.