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Boyfriend guilty of toddler murder
A jury at Manchester Crown Court found Daniel Rigby guilty of murdering his girlfriend's two-year-old son
A man has been found guilty of beating a two-year-old child to death in a "wicked attack".
Rio Smedley had 91 separate injuries on his body and died from a ruptured liver, a trial at Manchester Crown Court heard. 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. The prosecution said she failed to protect her son from Rigby - a man she had previously reported to police for violently attacking her while she was pregnant.
Rio was murdered by Rigby on April 22 in what the prosecution said was "a wicked attack on a defenceless two-year-old child".
Rigby was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve a minimum term of 17 years before he would be considered for parole. 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."
The judge said Rigby had abused his position of trust. He said: "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."
The judge said he did not think Rigby intended to kill Rio but had a "sudden loss of temper" and "set about him, inflicting the fatal blow". The jury took four hours and 30 minutes to reach the two unanimous guilty verdicts. As the guilty verdict was read out on the murder charge, there were gasps from the public gallery and some of Rigby's relatives left the court in tears.
Rigby, dressed in a grey suit, shirt and tie, put his head in his hands as the verdict was given. Smedley, dressed all in black and with her dark hair tied back, appeared to be struggling to hold back tears when the jury announced her guilty verdict.
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."
After the trial, Detective Constable Pam Chandler read a statement on behalf of Rio's family. "Today we have got justice for our beautiful son, grandson, brother and nephew Rio," the statement said. "We have to live every day without Rio and for the rest of our lives we will never see him grow into a lovely young man. No matter how long that monster gets, he will still have a life."