Toddler's liver split in two, murder trial hears
A TODDLER received a blow so hard it caused his liver to split in two, a court heard.
The jury at Manchester Crown Court heard that two-year-old Rio Smedley’s injury was so severe a main artery was also damaged, which lead to rapid blood loss.
Daniel Rigby is accused of murdering the toddler, which he denies.
The 23-year-old claims Rio sustained his injuries when he fell down the stairs, but pathologist Dr Naomi Carter told the court that Rio’s injuries were not consistent with Rigby’s account.
Rio’s mother, Kirsty Smedley, is also on trial and has pleaded not guilty to allowing the death of a child after failing to take steps to protect him.
Dr Carter said Rio had 91 injuries, many in places where they could not have been caused accidentally.
The cause of death was the liver injury and “catastrophic” blood loss, she told the court.
She said the tot could have survived for as little as half an hour, but it was unlikely he lived for more than a few hours after the fatal blow.
Dr Carter said: “It was a severe blow or blows to the abdomen which caused the liver to essentially split into two halves.”
Both Rigby, from Tyldesley, and 24-year-old Smedley were visibly upset in the dock.
Dr Carter visited Rio’s home in Cheriton Drive, Breightmet, where he died, to see the staircase.
She said: “A short fall which this would have been could not possibly begin to explain the severity of the liver injury.”
She said a large bruise on his buttock was unusual for a child his age and it was implausible it could have been caused by a child the same age with a toy.
Dr Carter said it was more likely for it to have been caused by him being struck with a piece of wood, stick or baseball bat, or being rammed against a solid object.
His feet were also bruised.
She said: “Children run around and stub their toes but these are symmetrical bruises, which means almost certainly the toes had been punched or stamped on.”
Rigby shook his head as Dr Carter told the jury about a bruise on the back of his head.
She said the pattern suggested a “distinct possibility” that his head hit carpet.
The case continues.