Toddler fell down stairs, accused tells murder trial
8:54am Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
A MAN accused of killing a two-year-old boy told a court that he would never harm the youngster — and that his injuries were caused by falling down the stairs.
Daniel Rigby said he “thought a lot” of Rio Smedley, who was the son of his pregnant girlfriend, Kirsty Smedley.
He told a jury at Manchester Crown Court about Rio's final days, and said that the youngster suffered multiple injuries when he fell down the stairs at his home in Cheriton Drive, Breightmet.
The jury has previously been told that little Rio suffered 91 injuries, including a heavy blow that caused his liver to split in half.
Richard Pratt QC, defending, asked Rigby if he was responsible for the injuries.
He replied: “Not one of them, no.”
Asked if he had ever harmed him, Rigby replied: “Never”.
Rigby, aged 23, told the court he heard a few bangs on Sunday, April 22, the day that Rio died.
He said he jumped up straight away and saw the boy at the bottom of the stairs with his head near the door and his body on the stairs.
Rigby said: "He said ‘hiya’ and started rubbing his chest. He lifted himself up and said ‘ooh’. I ran into the front room and text Kirsty."
He said Rio seemed "spaced out" on the sofa and he told his girlfriend to come home.
Mr Pratt asked: "What condition were you in when Kirsty got back?"
He replied: "I was crying my eyes out."
The court heard Smedley was screaming and rang an ambulance.
When the paramedic arrived he said he saw a man outside who appeared calm.
Rigby said: "I had to step back a bit but it was killing me inside. I was trying to be calm and sort Kirsty out."
The court heard that among Rio's injuries was a large bruise on his buttock.
Rigby had allegedly told Smedley that it was caused by another child with a toy sword the day before Rio's death.
But Rigby said when giving evidence yesterday that he made up the story about the sword because he didn't want Smedley to get in trouble.
Rigby said they had a conversation about the bruise, and told the jury: "She said don't tell anyone because someone will think I have hit him."
Rigby said he had never seen Smedley hit Rio, however.
The court has heard that Rigby had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting Smedley, but no further action was taken.
Rigby has previous convictions for a public order offence, theft of a motor vehicle and interfering with a vehicle.
He also has two cautions for assault as a youth.
He said in March there was an incident when Smedley slapped him across the face, and he responded by grabbing her cheeks and pushing her onto the bed.
He said they were arguing because she said she was going to have sex with another man, which he said made him feel sick.
Rigby, from Tyldesley, denies murder. Smedley, aged 24, denies allowing the death of a child.
The trial continues.