Stoke & Staffordshire

Ayeeshia Jane Smith murder trial: Mum 'said take girl away'

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

A mother accused of murdering her 21-month-old daughter told social services to "just take her away", a court heard.

Kathryn Smith was told Ayeeshia Jane Smith would be taken into care if she continued to see "abusive" Joshua Collier, whose baby she aborted.

Ayeeshia died at her home in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, when her heart was torn by a forceful stamp, a jury was told.

Ms Smith and her partner Matthew Rigby, 22, both from Nottingham, deny murder.

Image caption Kathryn Smith and Matthew Rigby are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court charged with murder, causing Ayeeshia's death and child cruelty

Health visitor Sarah Shaw went to see Ms Smith in supported housing in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, on 29 April 2013, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Her recent abortion had been a "painful decision for her" and she was upset, the jury heard.

Ms Shaw said she saw damage to Ms Smith's front door, caused by her then partner Mr Collier, whom social workers had raised concerns about in the past.

Derbyshire social services kept Ayeeshia on a safeguarding plan under the "emotional abuse" category.

'Real emotional warmth'

Ms Smith told Ms Shaw that Mr Collier had punched the front door, verbally abused her and kicked her in the stomach, the court heard.

"She got angry, swearing and stating to us to 'just take AJ away... because I am such a crap mother'," Ms Shaw said.

Ms Shaw said she always noted real "emotional warmth" between the mother and baby.

"She stated she loved Josh and he was going to be around long-term and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him," said Ms Shaw.

The health visitor explained to Ms Smith she "may have to make a decision between Ayeeshia and Mr Collier".

After it emerged Ms Smith was still seeing Mr Collier, Ayeeshia was taken into foster care in June 2013.

The court heard Ayeeshia was returned to Ms Smith in October that year and shortly afterwards social services became aware of her dating Mr Rigby.

In January 2014, it emerged Ms Smith lied to Ms Shaw about the fact Mr Rigby had damaged the front door of her flat, by claiming they had been locked out.

Historic injuries

Ms Shaw noticed a cut on Ayeeshia's bottom lip, another under her chin and a newly-appeared bald patch on her scalp and jurors heard this triggered a child protection medical review on 7 January.

The family later moved to a flat in Burton-upon-Trent, where on 1 May Ayeeshia collapsed and later died.

Post-mortem tests identified a series of other current and historic injuries which the prosecution has said were deliberately inflicted.

Ms Smith, of Sandfield Road, Nottingham, and Mr Rigby, of Sloan Drive, Nottingham, have also pleaded not guilty to allowing or causing a child's death and child cruelty.

The trial continues.

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