The man accused of killing Bolton toddler Rio Smedley following a series of brutal attacks was found guilty of murder today.
Daniel Rigby, 23, of Dorest Avenue, Wigan, was found guilty by the jury of murdering his girlfriend’s two-year-old boy and sentenced to life in prison, he must serve a minimum of 17 years – Rio was found dead with 91 injuries on his body.
Rigby had categorically denied causing any harm to Rio – a coroner’s report revealed that the toddler’s liver was ‘split in two’ and could have only been caused by violent kicking, punching and stamping during a ‘wicked attack’.
Rio’s mum Kirsty Smedley, 24, formerly of Cheriton Drive, Bolton, was also found guilty of allowing or causing the death of a child after she failed to protect her boy from someone she had reported to the police for violently attacking her while pregnant.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Reade said: "This is a shocking case in which an innocent and defenceless little boy has suffered appalling injuries at the hands of someone who had been trusted to look after him.
"Rigby has today been put behind bars for a long time for his actions, but this will go little way to ease the suffering of Rio's family, who have lost their beloved little boy under such tragic circumstances."
Rigby was left solely in charge of Rio on several occasions prior to his death on April 22 of this year.
The youngster was found by his mum collapsed at the bottom of stairs in his home – Rigby claimed that he sustained the brutal injuries by falling down them.
But after a two-week trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jury of six men and women found the pair guilty.
Smedley has been remanded into custody and will not be sentenced today.
On Saturday April 21, Smedley left her two-year-old son Rio in the care of Rigby at her home in Breightmet.
Rigby had moved back into the house the day before, when he and his girlfriend had got back together after being separated for several weeks.
He took Rio to visit some of his relatives and at around 6.30pm, he called Smedley to say that Rio had fallen off an armchair and banged his head, which had caused a red mark.
Later that evening, Rigby again phoned the youngster's mum to tell her that whilst playing with a young child at the house of another relative, Rio had been hit with a toy sword.
The next day Rio was again left in Rigby's care at their home in Breightmet while Smedley went to visit relatives and friends.
At 4.15pm, Smeldey phoned Rigby and was told that Rio had fallen down the stairs and had become floppy and unresponsive.
His mum arrived back at the home address at around 5.25pm where Rio was in a collapsed state. She rang 999 and under instruction from the emergency services operator, gave CPR to the two-year-old boy.
Paramedics went to the address on Cheriton Drive and Rio was rushed to hospital, where he sadly died a short time later.
A Home Office post-mortem examination established that Rio died from severe abdominal injuries, which were non-accidental.
Rio had a total of 91 injuries and bruises to his body, the vast majority of which are believed to have been sustained within the 24 hours prior to his death.
Rigby claimed that the bruising and marks to Rio's body had been caused accidentally whilst he had been visiting friends and relatives on the Saturday, but further police enquires revealed this to be untrue.