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Murdered toddler Ayeeshia Smith's mother weeps as she is jailed for 24 years

Press Association logoPress Association 11/04/2016 By Richard Vernalls, Press Association

A mother has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years after being found guilty of murdering her toddler daughter Ayeeshia Jane Smith by stamping the child to death.

Kathryn Smith, 23, was convicted by majority verdict at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday after a six-week trial of her and ex-partner Matthew Rigby, 22.

Rigby was convicted of causing or allowing little Ayeeshia's death at the family home in Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire on May 1, 2014, but cleared of her murder.

Kathryn Smith wept as the jury returned its verdict: Ayeeshia Jane Smith death © PA PICTURE DESK Ayeeshia Jane Smith death Smith wept constantly as she was sentenced by Mrs Justice Geraldine Andrews.

Rigby, who closed his eyes tight as he was asked to stand in the dock by Mrs Justice Andrews, was jailed for three years and six months for what she called his "failure to act".

Jailing Smith, the judge said: "You are a devious, manipulative, selfish, young woman who would stop at nothing to get your own way.

"To that end you were prepared to tell lie after lie."

Kathryn Smith wept as the jury returned its verdict: Ayeeshia Jane Smith death © PA WIRE Ayeeshia Jane Smith death She added: "Ayeeshia was a particularly vulnerable victim, thin and slight of frame, deserving of protection and under the protection of social services for the whole of her short life.

"She was killed in her own home by her own mother - that is the grossest breach of trust."

As the child's killer, wearing a grey sweater hoodie and with her dyed red hair pulled up in a ponytail, gazed through eyes full of tears, the judge told her Ayeeshia had come "a poor second" during her brief life.

She said: "She was a defenceless child, thin and fragile for her age and it was your responsibility as mother to take care of her and protect her from harm, yet on the afternoon of May 1, 2014, for no apparent reason, her life was brutally snuffed out in a vicious beating in her own bedroom, surrounded by her toys and playthings."

Addressing Smith, she added: "It was you who remained your number one priority and Ayeeshia came a very poor second."

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