Life in prison for man who murdered his girlfriend's son

Rio Smedley
Rio Smedley Photo:

A man has been jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 17 years after murdering a toddler in a 'wicked attack' on two-year-old Rio Smedley.

Daniel Rigby, 23, from Tyldesley, Wigan, was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's son by a jury of six men and six women.

Rio's mother Kirsty Smedley, 24, formerly of Cheriton Drive, Breightmet, Bolton, was also found guilty of allowing or causing the death of a child.

Mr Justice MacKay adjourned Smedley's sentencing to a date yet to be fixed for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, and remanded her into custody.

He told her: "I want you to understand that you stand in very real peril of a prison sentence as a result of this conviction. Don't have any delusions about it."

Daniel Rigby
Daniel Rigby Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Sentencing Rigby Mr Justice David MacKay told him:

The jury has convicted you of the murder of this little boy. You don't need me to tell you what a terrible crime that was.

You abused that trust by punishing him physically in quite a revolting way.

It's a chilling, terrible picture. He suffered considerably before he died, I am satisfied. He was a vulnerable boy. You abused your trust.

Rio had 91 separate injuries on his body and died from a ruptured liver, a trial at Manchester Crown Court heard.

The court was told that Rio's injuries were likely to have been caused by "heavy blows" from "punches, kicks, knees and stamping".

Simon Phillips QC, for the prosecution, accused Rigby of "striking Rio with such force as to split his liver in two" at around 4.30pm on April 22 this year.

He said the attack was part of "a sustained and violent attack".

He added: "A wicked attack on a defenceless two-year-old child."

This was a wicked attack against a vulnerable and defenceless child, perpetrated by Daniel Rigby.

The injuries suffered by Rio were brutal and could not have been inflicted accidentally, as Rigby had claimed in an attempt to hide what he had done.

Today, a jury has decided that Rigby caused Rio's death and that Kirsty Smedley betrayed her responsibility to keep her child safe from Rigby's violence.

– Jan Urey, of the Crown Prosecution Service

Police also released CCTV footage of Rigby with the toddler the day before he killed him.

Daniel Rigby with Rio on the bus the day before he murdered the toddler
Daniel Rigby with Rio on the bus the day before he murdered the toddler

Speaking outside the court Greater Manchester Police made this statement on behalf of Rio's family: