A tribute garden dedicated to the memory of a toddler murdered by her mother has received a touching donation just days after callous vandals poisoned at least five fish in a pond.

The heartbroken father of Ayeeshia-Jayne Smith has been moved by the generosity of Burton Mail reader Michael Hotter, who wants to replace the dead fish in the garden pond in Midway.

Ricky Booth has been put in touch with Mr Hotter who hopes to donate the fish to the memorial garden after reading the devastating news of its vandalism in the Burton Mail. It is believed disinfectant was poured into the pond.

Ricky Booth in happier times with his daughter Ayeeshia-Jayne Smith

Mr Booth said: "It was Saturday morning I came home from a mate's house and I noticed a distinct disinfectant smell coming from the front garden and I noticed the smell was stronger the further up the path I went and then I saw some of the fish.

"I had about 25 to 30 fish and about five of them have died so far. It has just broken me. I took out all of the fish and managed to save quite a few but they still could die.

"It pulls my heart out because it is a memorial patch for a little girl, it's not just a normal garden so it is devastating."

Ricky Booth is having to repair the pond to his memorial garden that he created for his daughter Ayeeshia-Jane Smith, after someone poisoned the fish that were in the pond.
Ricky Booth

Mr Booth started his garden following the death of his 21-month-old daughter Ayeeshia-Jayne at her home in Britannia Drive, Stretton in May 2014.

She was murdered by her mother Kathryn Smith who stamped on her so hard it caused a tear in her heart. She later received a life sentence.

The 23-year-old said: "I decided to start the garden because Kat had taken Ayeeshia-Jayne's ashes from the funeral directors before the trial.

"We didn't know what she was doing with them and so we have nowhere to go to pay our respects so I decided to start this garden in memory of her."

Ricky Booth is having to repair the pond to his memorial garden that he created for his daughter Ayeeshia-Jane Smith, after someone poisoned the fish that were in the pond.
The pond dedicated to Ayeeshia-Jyane Smith was poisoned

It was revealed during the murder trial that Smith had given her then-boyfriend Matthew Rigby a locket containing some of the ashes.

The area now covers his entire front garden and is adorned with memories of his daughter, including an ornament of a little girl reading a book, a wooden well, a heron and several ornamental animals.

Injuries inflicted on Ayeeshia. Including Alopecia
Ricky took this photo of his daughter who was suffering with stress-related alopecia

Following an eight week trial at Birmingham Crown Court she was found guilty of murder and ordered to serve at least 24 years in April 2016. The sentence was later reduced to a minimum of 19 years after an appeal in July, this year, due to her youth and "immaturity."

It is a move that Ricky has said "was bang out of order" and she should remain inside for life.

During the trial it was revealed Mr Booth, who had split from Ayeeshia-Jayne's mother before her birth, had contacted social services several times highlighting his concerns about his daughter.

Ayeeshia Smith was murdered by her mother
He also took photos showing her injuries which are said to have been inflicted by her mother.

It led to a serious case review involving agencies which had come into contact with the family before her death and highlighted that more could have been done to prevent the murder. It found social workers missed signs of danger around Ayeeshia-Jayne and focused too much on the condition of Smith.

Ricky Booth is having to repair the pond to his memorial garden that he created for his daughter Ayeeshia-Jane Smith, after someone poisoned the fish that were in the pond.
The memory garden

Smith's boyfriend Matthew Rigby was jailed for three-and-a-half years for causing or allowing the child's death. It has been a year since the pair were sentenced but Mr Booth said life was still tough.

He said: "It has been hard since the trial. I am still having people ask about it so I have to relive it sometimes and I need to get on with life, but not forget her."

Ricky Booth is having to repair the pond to his memorial garden that he created for his daughter Ayeeshia-Jane Smith, after someone poisoned the fish that were in the pond.
The memory garden

The garden will be a lasting reminder of the good times he shared with his daughter. He said: "She would have loved the idea of the garden.

"One of the last times I saw her was at the lake in Burton where we fed the ducks. So I decided to put the pond in which is similar to what it was there and so it is closer to me."

He said he was touched by the offer of a donation by Mr Hotter, of West Hallam, in Derby, and has contacted him.
Anyone with information is asked to call Derbyshire Police on 101.

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