British mother jailed for life for "savage" murder of her daughter

Kathryn Smith was found guilty last week of murdering her 21-month-old daughter

Kathryn Smith, Britain, jailed, life sentence, murder, Ayeeshia Jane Smith

Kathryn Smith outside Birmingham Crown Court | Image: Joe Giddens / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A British mother has wept in court as she was jailed for life for killing her toddler daughter in "an outburst of savage violence".

A judge branded Kathryn Smith "a devious, manipulative and selfish young woman" - sentencing her to a minimum of 24 years for the murder of 21-month-old Ayeeshia Jane Smith.

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 - convicted of causing or allowing Ayeeshia's death at the family home in Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire - was jailed for three years and six months.

Smith was in tears throughout the sentencing, as judge Mrs Justice Geraldine Andrews said Ayeeshia was a "frail little girl (who) was viciously crushed" in her own bedroom, surrounded by her toys.

The judge said Smith had been prepared to tell "lie after lie" in an effort to escape punishment and had failed to make her daughter's wellbeing a priority in her life.

Ayeeshia, known as AJ, died from a heart laceration and her injuries were said to have been caused by being stamped on May 1st, 2014.

Doctors said it was the type of injury usually only seen in crash victims or in a person who has fallen from a height.

A post-mortem examination showed a catalogue of other injuries the prosecution claimed were deliberately inflicted but apparently went unnoticed by doctors and social services.

The toddler was found to have suffered a bleed on the brain in the months before her death, linked to an incident in February 2014 when she was admitted to hospital after collapsing.

Three weeks before Ayeeshia died, Derbyshire social services had discussed taking the youngster into care over concerns Smith was a victim of domestic abuse, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

The case has prompted a serious case review by Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board - the findings of which are expected to be published after new information that came to light during the trial is considered.