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Ayeeshia Jane Smith murder trial: Matthew Rigby 'last to see her', says mum

Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby
Image caption Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby are both accused of murder, causing Ayeeshia's death and child cruelty

A stepfather jointly accused of stamping a 21-month-old girl to death was the last person to see her, the child's mother told a court.

Kathryn Smith said Matthew Rigby joined her in the kitchen of a family flat in Burton "a couple of moments" after she left him and Ayeeshia Jane Smith alone.

They then heard the child "gasp" and found her unresponsive in her cot.

Ms Smith - who denies murder along with Mr Rigby - claimed child benefit after the death, jurors heard.

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The 23-year-old, from Sandfield Road in Nottingham, failed to alert authorities about her daughter's death in May 2014 and continued to claim for six months, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Describing the day Ayeeshia - known as AJ - died, Ms Smith said she and Mr Rigby, who have now separated, had been potty training her after a "perfect" visit with the child's grandparents.

She went to get her some juice before 22-year-old Mr Rigby, of Sloan Drive in Nottingham, joined her in the kitchen.

She said she then heard the child "gasp".

"Me and Matt were in the kitchen and we looked at each other, so I knew he'd heard it," she said.

Image caption Ayeeshia Jane Smith was 21 months old when she died in May 2014

They found Ayeeshia on her side in her cot.

Ms Smith said her daughter was "staring out the window and she looked all pale and her lips were blue and her mouth was bubbling".

The couple attempted to resuscitate her and Ms Smith called paramedics, but despite medical help the child later died.

Ayeeshia's heart had been torn by a forceful stamp, the court has heard.

Ms Smith was also asked about an incident where she called police in April 2014 and urged officers to take Mr Rigby away, saying she was "scared" of him and did not want him near her daughter because he couldn't control his temper.

She told the court she later retracted that statement because she "might have overreacted".

Jurors heard her admit that she smoked cannabis two or three times a week, but not in the house.

She also said she knew it was wrong to keep the drug in a Tommee Tippee cup, but it was broken and was never used to feed Ayeeshia.

When asked about a neighbour hearing a child shout "Stop mummy, stop daddy", Ms Smith said Ayeeshia did not have the necessary speech to say that and knew Mr Rigby as "Matt-Matt".

In addition to the murder charges, the pair also deny causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty.

The trial continues.

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