The trial of Rachel Fee & Nyomi Fee – Child murder & abuse

July 2016

Mother and partner jailed for murdering Liam Fee in ‘pitiless regime’ of abuse

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A mother and her partner have been jailed for life for murdering her toddler son after subjecting him to a “cruel and pitiless regime” of abuse and neglect.

Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 29, grossly abused their position of trust to inflict appalling suffering on two-year-old Liam Fee.

For full trial details – click here

Defenceless Liam was murdered at his home near Glenrothes, Fife, on March 22, 2014 following a prolonged campaign of horrific abuse spanning more than two years.

He had suffered fatal heart injuries similar to those found on road crash victims and spent the last few days of his short life in agony from an untreated broken leg and fractured arm.

The pair – originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear – were also behind a catalogue of unspeakable cruelty against two boys in their care, one of whom they tried to blame for Liam’s death.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Burns handed both women life sentences and indicated they would be in their 50s before they can be considered for release.

He ordered Trelfa to serve a minimum of 23-and-a-half years behind bars, while Fee – described by police as “domineering” – must spend at least 24 years in prison.

The judge told them: “In respect of Liam it was plain… that he had been subjected to a prolonged course of violent behaviour which caused him appalling suffering both physically and mentally and ultimately caused his death at the age of two-and-a-half.”

The couple, who have shown no remorse, displayed little emotion as their fate was revealed.

Liam’s father Joseph Johnson later left court without making any comment.

The couple were convicted of Liam’s murder and seven other charges against them in May following a trial at the High Court in Livingston.

The case of was one of the most distressing ever heard in a Scottish courtroom, with some evidence reducing jury members to tears.

Liam had suffered a severe blunt force trauma from a blow or blows to his chest and abdomen and had more than 30 external injuries on his lifeless body.

Jurors heard there had been an escalation of violence towards the boy leading up to his death, which included the couple failing to get help for the toddler when they knew he had the fractured bones.

Their callous indifference to his injuries left the child in severe pain, but the killers refused to get him medical aid, choosing instead to search the internet on their phones for terms such as “how do you die of a broken hip” and “how long can you live with a broken bone?”

The women admitted serious failings over the lack of medical help sought for Liam.

But they denied murder and, as part of their web of lies, tried to shift the blame for the killing on to a boy of only primary school age, who cannot be named.

The jury convicted the women of trying to defeat the ends of justice and of horrific abuses against that boy and one other, which left them “profoundly damaged”.

These included denying the youngsters access to the toilet then forcing them to take cold showers when they wet the bed; imprisoning one in a home-made cage; and tying another naked to a chair in a dark room where snakes and rats were kept after telling him that a boa constrictor ate naughty boys.

Brian McConnachie QC, representing Trelfa, told the court she maintains that she has suffered a miscarriage of justice in relation to the murder and most of the other charges.

He said the pair were being held in different prisons, with Trelfa – who has been disowned by her entire family – being “to all intents and purposes” locked up for 24 hours a day for her own protection.

Mark Stewart QC, for Fee, said she accepted responsibility for failing to obtain medical assistance for Liam but “maintains her plea of innocence” over the remaining charges.

Lord Burns told the killers: “Each of you had responsibility for the care and welfare of the three young children.

“You both grossly abused those responsibilities and subjected them to a cruel and pitiless regime of ill treatment and neglect while in your joint care.”

The trial heard that a number of people had expressed concern about Liam’s wellbeing during his short life. Fife Council is now reviewing how it handled the case.

May 31, 2016

GUILTY!

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The eight women and six men of the jury have reached a verdict

Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa/Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 29 have been found GUILTY of murdering two-year-old son Liam Fee.

The eight charges in total, include ill treating and neglecting three children over a period of two years, assault, and one count of child murder against their two-year-old son Liam

They were also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by falsely incriminating another boy for Liam’s death and that they failed to seek medical help

Alex Prentice QC had previously asked the jury to find the pair guilty of what he described as “a course of violent and cruel treatment towards the children” and an escalation of violence towards Liam leading up to his death.

The trial has been running for seven weeks.

The toddler was found with more than 30 injuries to his body, the fatal blow being a blow to the abdomen which ruptured his heart.

The High Court in Livingston heard that the fatal injuries were similar to those seen in car crash victims.

To cover up their crime, the pair convinced a seven-year-old boy in their care that he was the killer.

They told him he had strangled Liam and placed his hand inside the dead boy’s mouth to ensure DNA transfer, in an apparent effort to bolster a forensic case against the child.

It was only when the boy was interviewed by police and social workers that they began to realise the evidence against the boy did not stack up.

Having begun the interview process believing that he had committed murder, the boy was reassured that he was not, in fact, the killer.

For several days before his death at their house in Thornton, Fife, the two women had left Liam, Rachel’s son, suffering from a fractured arm and broken leg.

Rather than seek medical treatment, they gave him painkillers, even though they appreciated the severity of his injuries.

Analysis of their mobile phones revealed Google searches for: “Can you die from a broken hip?”

The pair, originally from Ryton in Newcastle, were also found guilty of ill-treating two other seven-year-old boys in their care, including the one they tried to implicate in Liam’s death.

They tied one of the boys inside a cage and bound the other to a chair in a locked room with caged rats and snakes, warning that their pet boa constrictor might eat him if he was bad.

Other abuse included forcing the boys to eat dog excrement and stand under cold showers for prolonged periods.

Friday May 27, 2016

Jury retires in Liam Fee murder case

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Jurors in the trial of a mother accused of murdering her two-year-old son with her civil partner have retired to consider their verdict.

They were told they could convict Rachel Trelfa or Fee and partner Nyomi Fee of either murder or the lesser charge of culpable homicide if they believe they are responsible for toddler Liam Fee’s death.

Liam’s mother Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Fee, 29, are accused of fatally assaulting the tot at a house in Thornton, in Fife, and inflicting a catalogue of abuse against him and two other children.

Judge Lord Burns told them: “There are three verdicts you open to you in respect of each charge, guilty, not guilty and not proven.

“The latter two are both verdicts of acquittal and both mean in effect the accused cannot be tried again on a particular charge.

“Your verdicts can be unanimous or by majority and if the verdict is guilty there must be at least eight of you, an absolute majority, in favour of that guilty verdict.

On the murder charge, he said: “There are different verdicts open to you in respect of each accused.

“They could be found guilty of murder or of culpable homicide or acquitted.

“But in order to reach the verdict of guilty on either of those charges, for murder or culpable homicide, you would need at least eight of you in favour.”

Jurors were yesterday told to put any sympathy or prejudice aside as they considered a verdict in the “highly emotional” case.

They retired at 10.40am and may deliver their verdict later today.

However, if they fail to reach a decision the High Court in Livingston will reconvene on Monday before they continue their deliberations.

Liam died on March 22, 2014, but the accused say another boy, who cannot be identified, was responsible for his injuries.

The couple are accused of repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to Liam’s head and body and of the ill treatment and neglect of two other boys.

The pair have admitted during evidence that they failed to seek medical help for Liam for a suspected broken leg in the days before his death.

Trelfa said she feared social workers would be alerted and remove her child from her care.

The women are accused of eight charges in total, including the ill treatment and neglect of the children, assault, and murder.

They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by falsely incriminating another boy for Liam’s death.

Thursday May 26, 2016

Mother admits neglect but not murder

The mother of Liam Fee neglected him but there was no evidence she assaulted or killed him, a jury been told.

In his closing speech, Rachel Fee’s lawyer Brian McConnachie said there was evidence another boy killed Liam.

He said the jury must put aside any preconceptions and prejudices they might have and look dispassionately at the evidence in this harrowing case.

Rachel and Nyomi Fee deny murdering Liam near Glenrothes in March 2014 and blaming his death on another child.

The women, who are both originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, deny all the charges against them.

Mr McConnachie QC said: “As far as Rachel Fee is concerned, there is no direct evidence against her that she assaulted Liam.”

Mr McConnachie said that she had “no motive” for attacking her son and was guilty only of the “unforgivable crime” of failing to seek medical aid for Liam for a suspected broken leg in the days before his death.

He said: “By failing to get medical help, his mother Rachel Fee committed an unforgivable crime and in due course she will be rightly and justly punished for that.

“That does not make her a murderer.

“Tragedy is an overused word in this court but the death of Liam Fee is a real, genuine tragedy.”

He told the jury: “Do not compound that tragedy by convicting Rachel Fee of the murder of her son when there’s not a shred of evidence to support that contention.

“The crown case is one of illusion, of smoke and mirrors.”

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

Wednesday May 25, 2016

Jurors urged to put sympathy aside

Jurors in the trial of a mother accused of murdering her two-year-old son with her civil partner have been told to put any sympathy or prejudice aside as they prepare to consider a verdict in the “highly emotional” case.

Rachel Fee or Trelfa, 31, and 29-year-old Nyomi Fee deny fatally assaulting Liam Fee, who died at a house in Thornton, Fife on March 22, 2014.

The pair say another boy, who cannot be identified, was responsible for his injuries.

Judge Lord Burns has begun directing the jury at the High Court in Livingston, where he told panel members that while the Crown case asks that inferences be drawn from the evidence presented, they should not be tempted “to fill in any gaps”.

Lord Burns said: “Those inferences must be reasonable and must not amount to speculation.”

He said there is a danger of feelings of prejudice or sympathy in the “highly emotional” case, and that members of the jury “would be made out of granite” if they had not been moved by some of the evidence.

But the judge said: “You must act impartially and dispassionately.”

The couple are accused of repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to Liam’s head and body and of the ill treatment and neglect of two other boys.

The pair have admitted during evidence that they failed to seek medical help for Liam for a suspected broken leg in the days before his death.

Trelfa said she feared social workers would be alerted and remove her child from her care.

Her lawyer Brian McConnachie QC told the jury earlier on Thursday: “By failing to get medical help, Rachel Fee committed an unforgivable crime and in due course she will be rightly and justly punished for that.

“That does not make her a murderer.

“Tragedy is an overused word in this court but the death of Liam Fee is a real, genuine tragedy.”

He told the jury: “Do not compound that tragedy by convicting Rachel Fee of the murder of her son when there’s not a shred of evidence to support that contention.

“The Crown case is one of illusion, of smoke and mirrors.”

Mr McConnachie also urged members of the jury not to let any emotional feelings way their judgement, telling them: “This is as harrowing a case as any jury is likely to have to listen to.”

He said video interview evidence given by two boys which was led by prosecutors was “contaminated” because of the way the interview process was carried out, and that there was no direct evidence that Trelfa ever assaulted Liam.

Both defence counsels say there is a case for Liam having been assaulted by another boy who they claimed had shown sexualised and violent behaviour towards the toddler in the past.

Mark Stewart QC, defending Fee, told jurors on Wednesday: “He (the boy) was the one, and only him, who was responsible for harming Liam that day.”

Prosecutors say that while the case against the pair is circumstantial, there is “clear and compelling” evidence against the women, including that given by the two boys in video interviews.

Alex Prentice QC has asked the jury to find the pair guilty of what he described as “a course of violent and cruel treatment towards the children” and an escalation of violence towards Liam leading up to his death.

The women are accused of eight charges in total, including the ill treatment and neglect of the children, assault, and murder.

They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by falsely incriminating another boy for Liam’s death.

Lord Burns will continue directing the jury on Friday before releasing them to consider a verdict.

Tuesday May 24, 2016

Jurors urged to convict mother and partner

The jury in the trial of two women accused of murdering a toddler has been told there is enough evidence to convict them.

In his closing speech to jurors, Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC urged them to find that Rachel Fee or Trelfa and her civil partner Nyomi Fee had carried out a course of “violent and cruel” treatment towards three children.

The prosecutor also told the jury the two accused acted together with a “common criminal purpose”.

They deny murdering two-year-old Liam Fee at a house near Glenrothes in Fife by repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to his head and body, as well as ill-treating two other young boys in their care, one of whom they blame for the toddler’s death on March 22, 2014.

Mr Prentice told the jury the case had been “harrowing”, adding: “You would really have to be made of granite not to have been moved by some of what you have heard.”

He urged them to put aside any feelings of sympathy and judge the two women based on the evidence led over more than six weeks at the High Court in Livingston.

He said: “What I ask you to do is to find both the accused guilty of everything that is on this indictment.

“That’s my invitation to you. You are entitled to do that. There is sufficient evidence led in this case which justifies the charges as they are.”

Mr Prentice said that while the case was circumstantial, there was “clear and compelling” evidence against the two women, including that given by the two other young boys in a series of video interviews shown to the jury.

He said: “If you stand back and look at all that it would entitle you to then consider that there has been an overall course of criminal conduct and it is that the accused together embarked upon a course of violent and cruel treatment towards the children.”

Mr Prentice told the jury of nine women and six men the most obvious thing for an adult to do would be to tell a doctor, nurse or hospital the real reason for injuries suffered by a child.

He said: “The conduct I say is set out on the evidence in the charges suggest a course of violence and cruelty towards the children.

“That’s capable of providing you with evidence in relation to the murder charge.

“I ask you to find both the accused guilty of everything that’s on this indictment. You’re entitled to do that.

“There’s sufficient evidence led in this case to justify the charges as they stand. The evidence is there in support of all that is on the indictment.”

He added: “You can look at the awkward and very deliberate lies and explanations that were put forward.

“The most obvious thing would be to tell a doctor or a health visitor or a hospital immediately. If it’s sexualised behaviour, that indicates a problem that has to be addressed.

“No, they hide it. They never tell anyone. They never mention it until the night Liam dies.

“In this case I suggest there’s a clear and compelling case of the boys being ill treated in a way that is completely unacceptable.”

Friday May 20, 2016

Mother spent three hours with her horse on the day the toddler died

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LIAM Fee’s mum has admitted she spent three hours looking after a horse on the day her son died.

Rachel Fee said she knew at the time that the two-year-old could die from a broken leg if he didn’t get help.

But she went to the stables where the horse was kept and stayed there for three hours.

Fee said she got home at 6.20pm. The court has heard that her partner and co-accused, Nyomi, found Liam dead in his buggy at 7.50pm.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC put it to Rachel Fee that she was aware Liam could have suffered the thigh fracture days earlier.

He told her: “This was a little boy who had a broken leg and who might die.”

Mr Prentice then asked whose decision it was not to take Liam to a hospital.

Fee replied: “Probably mine. It would have fell to me because I was his mother. I should have got him help.”

Mr Prentice added: “Did you threaten to leave Nyomi if she got help for Liam?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Prentice: “You put your own interests before those of your children.

Fee: “Yes.”

Prentice: “How does that square with the rights, duties and responsibilities of being a mother?”

Fee: “I completely failed him.”

Prentice: “You did.”

Fee added later: “It is a decision I regret for the rest of my life.”

The Fees deny murdering Liam by repeatedly inflicting blunt force trauma to his head and body. They also deny neglecting the toddler at his home in Thornton, Fife, and abusing and neglecting two other boys who cannot be named.

The couple deny falsely blaming Liam’s death on one of the older children.

Earlier in her evidence, Rachel Fee told her counsel Brian McConnachie QC that she spent three hours with her horse, William, on March 22, 2014 – the day Liam died.

She admitted she had suspected since March 17 that Liam had a broken leg, but had done nothing.

The court also heard that she texted Nyomi Fee to ask her to pour her a drink ready for when she returned from the stables.

Mr McConnachie asked: “How can it be that on March 22 you spent three hours at the stable looking after your horse?”

Fee replied: “I didn’t mean to spend three hours at the stable. It was like that because of the way the lifts worked out. I couldn’t get anyone to look after William. William is the horse.”

The QC then asked: “Why were you texting Nyomi about getting the drinks poured when your two-and-a-half-year-old boy was stuck in his buggy with a broken leg?”

Fee replied: “I don’t know.”

Mr McConnachie said: “Liam obviously is dead. Do you consider that has anything to do with you?”

Fee answered: “His death? No.”


The QC went on: “When he died, he had suffered a variety of injuries. Do you think that had anything to do with you?”

Fee said: “With his injuries, yes, because I should have got him help.”

Mr McConnachie then referred to a “prolonged” period of abuse of Liam by another child, which the Fees knew about. He asked Rachel Fee what the authorities would have done if she had told them the truth about it.

She replied: “Probably taken him off me.” Mr McConnachie then asked: “Where would he be today?”

Fee replied: “Alive.”

Mr McConnachie then said: “I’ll ask again if his death had anything to do with your conduct.”

The accused replied: “I should have got him help, so yes.”

But Fee denied inflicting Liam’s fatal injuries.

The court heard that in the days before Liam died, Rachel Fee searched online to find out if a person could die of a broken leg.

She also Googled whether “lesbians who are married can go to jail together”.

Mr McConnachie said: “Not only did you think Liam could have broken his leg, but you were researching the consequences of that. Is that right?”

Fee replied: “I wasn’t thinking rationally. I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I was just so scared.”

She said she was “hysterical” when Nyomi Fee found Liam lifeless in his buggy on the evening of March 22.

“I think I fell to the floor,” she added. “He wasn’t breathing.”

Fee said she saw another child in the hall. She added: “He looked down and I knew from the look on his face he’d done something.

“I was completely distraught, devastated. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know what to do. I had so many different emotions.”

She told the court she shouted at the boy: “You have strangled or suffocated him, haven’t you?”

And she claimed he replied: “Yeah.”

Fee said the boy she accused had previously sexually assaulted Liam, injured the toddler’s head and broken his leg. She said she did nothing about the assaults because she feared what social services would do.

She denied prosecution claims that before they called an ambulance for Liam, she and Nyomi hid a makeshift cage which they used to imprison one of the older boys.

Rachel Fee also denied the older children’s claims that they were abused for two years.

She denied tying one boy to a cage, tying the other to a chair in a room full of snakes and rats and leaving him there at night, and making the boys take cold showers to punish them for wetting the bed.

Thursday May 19, 2016

Woman accused of murdering toddler says she could not have prevented two-year-old’s death

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A woman accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee deleted calls made on her mobile phone on the night of his death, her trial has heard.

Nyomi Fee denied the move was intentional or that it appeared “odd”, as prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked: “What did you really discuss with your mother?”

Fee also told the court there was nothing she could have done to prevent the two-year-old’s death.

The 28-year-old dismissed suggestions the death could have been avoided if she had never got involved with her partner Rachel Trelfa, or Fee, and the boy.

The court heard Fee deleted three calls on her mobile phone made between her and her mother within the space of 10 minutes on March 22, 2014 – the night Liam died.

Nyomi Fee has previously admitted her failure to seek the required medical help for an injury Liam had to his leg days before his death amounted to neglect and ill-treatment.

Concluding his cross-questioning of the accused on Thursday, who was in the witness box for a third day, prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked her: “Looking back, do you think there’s anything you could have done to prevent the events which led to Liam’s death?”

She replied: “I didn’t know that that was going to happen, so no.”

“Would you change anything?” Mr Prentice asked.

“Yes. I would have got medical attention for Liam when I suspected his leg was injured,” Fee replied.

Mr Prentice then asked: “Might I suggest to you that one thing you could have done to prevent all of this was to leave Rachel and Liam alone, and never take up with her?”

Fee replied: “I don’t believe that would have prevented that.”

On the 27th day of the trial, the prosecutor also questioned Fee on why she had deleted calls made to her mother on the evening Liam died before handing her phone over to police.

Mr Prentice said: “The only ones you deleted were the calls to and from your mother.

“The critical calls [at] 19.36, 19.42, 19.44 to ‘mam’ they were deleted, you accept that.”

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Fee said she had not done so on purpose, said her phone was “completely cracked” and held together with tape, and insisted she had informed police about what had happened.

The prosecutor added: “It’s just a bit odd that within that cluster these are the only three which are deleted. It looks odd.”

Fee dismissed the suggestion.

Asked what she had “really” discussed with her mother, she said they had been talking about a forthcoming holiday.

Fee’s defence QC Mark Stewart later asked her: “Putting the neglect aspect to one side for a minute, did you have any responsibility for a direct assault on Liam, causing that fatal injury?”

“No, never,” replied the accused. The court later heard from clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Bryan Tully, 68, who analysed hours of recorded interviews taken with two young boys the women are accused of mistreating.

The interviews were conducted by a female police officer and a male social worker.

Dr Tully said he had never come across so many interviews being carried out with children of a similar age.

He estimated that “thousands of questions, at least a couple of thousand” were asked of the boys.

On the interviewers’ technique, the witness said: “They start to get a bit desperate and one question follows another as they try to pin down what seems a very slippery output from the children.”

He added: “The boys were put under a great deal of expectation.” 

Both accused, originally of Ryton, Tyne and Wear, deny killing Liam and blame his death on another young boy.

They further deny a catalogue of allegations of harming and neglecting two young boys over more than two years.

 

Wednesday May 18, 2016

Court told accused was left shocked by toddler’s death

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A woman accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee has told a court she played no part in inflicting his fatal injuries and was “in complete shock” when she realised he had died.

Nyomi Fee, 28, told jurors she tried to resuscitate the two-year-old but was “gutted” when it became clear that “he wasn’t coming back”.

Fee denied concocting a story about what happened that night with another child and insisted she had dialled 999 for an ambulance within two or three minutes of discovering Liam.

But Fee did admit her failure to seek medical help for Liam for an earlier injury to his leg amounted to neglect and ill-treatment, telling jurors: “I hate myself for that.”

Liam died at a house near Glenrothes in Fife on March 22, 2014.

Fee is on trial for a sixth week at the High Court in Livingston alongside her civil partner Rachel Fee, or Trelfa, 31 – Liam’s mother – where they deny murdering the toddler and falsely blaming his death on another boy. They are accused of repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to Liam’s head and body.

Fee, the first witness to give evidence for the defence, was in the witness box for a second day.

Questioned by her defence QC Mark Stewart, Fee told how she went into Liam’s room on the Saturday in question and found his buggy in a different place, and he was “very white”.

She said: “I picked him up by his arms and tried to make him wake up, and I screamed on Rachel.”

She said she put Liam on the floor and was “constantly trying to get him to wake up”.

Fee said she phoned 999 within “two to three minutes tops” and suspected that Liam was dead.

“He was really white, he was lifeless, there was nothing,” she told the court on the 26th day of the trial.

Mr Stewart asked whether, in the time she was in the room with Liam, she had ever “caused him any injury or ill health by any act or deed”.

“No, none whatsoever,” Fee replied, adding she heard a child in the house say they had strangled Liam.

“Did you have any opportunity to concoct a story?” asked the QC. “No,” replied the accused.

Mr Stewart asked about her emotions at the point when she found Liam.

“I was absolutely devastated,” Fee told jurors.

On her efforts to resuscitate the child, she added: “It wasn’t working. He wasn’t coming back, I’d lost him.”

She said she felt “gutted” and “was in complete shock,” before adding: “It kills us.”

The lawyer put it to her: “Did you have any part in inflicting the fatal injuries upon Liam or any other injuries upon Liam?”

“No, never,” the accused replied.

She said she “never” had any reason to harm the boy and insisted she had never harmed him on any occasion.

Fee also spoke of incidents she said occurred on March 16 that year, in which she found another boy in the house “stamping” on Liam’s leg.

The next day, she said she noticed a “massive” difference in Liam and he could not bear weight on his leg, prompting her to “Google symptoms”.

Fee said she accepted she did not get Liam appropriate medical treatment for that injury, which she thought could have been a broken leg.

“Do you accept that in failing to obtain that treatment you would be guilty of neglect or ill treatment?” Mr Stewart asked.

“Yes, I do,” Fee replied, later telling the court: “I hate myself for that.”

Tuesday May 17, 2016

Accused claims toddler was ‘self-harming’

The woman accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee has told her trial of concerns she had over changes in the two-year-old’s development.

Nyomi Fee, 28, said she found it “very upsetting” to see the boy “harm” himself and not know what could be done to stop it.

Fee is on trial for a sixth week at the High Court in Livingston alongside her civil partner Rachel Trelfa, or Fee, 31.

Both Fee and Trelfa – Liam’s mother – deny murdering toddler Liam, who died at a house in Fife on March 22, 2014, and falsely blaming his death on another boy.

The pair – originally from Ryton – also plead not guilty to a string of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two young boys over a period of more than two years.

Fee is the first witness to give evidence for the defence after the crown closed the prosecution case on Friday.

During questioning by her defence QC Mark Stewart on the 25th day of the trial, she covered various topics including the development of Liam, who was born in August 2011.

The court heard how, by July 2012, Liam went to a childminder and his behaviour was “fine” at that stage.

But later on that year, she said they began to have concerns about behaviour in a boy they looked after, who was acting in a sexualised way towards Liam.

As that progressed, she said she began to notice changes in Liam’s behaviour, including that he would pinch and bite himself.

Fee told how she voiced her concerns about the toddler’s behaviour to staff at the nursery which Liam had gone on to attend.

“Did you know as a matter of fact that there was something wrong with Liam?” asked Mr Stewart.

“No, I just had concerns,” said Fee.

“He had changed. It was like he wasn’t the same little boy, so we were very concerned that there was something.

“Liam would freak out if it wasn’t me that went into the room first. He wouldn’t accept anyone coming in. He would bite his fingers, scratch himself, just get very distressed.”

Fee said she had started to raise concerns with various professionals about Liam’s behaviour around January or February 2013 and would raise the possibility that the child had autism.

“It was very upsetting to see Liam self-harming and not know why it is and what we could do to stop it,” she said.

By the time Liam left nursery in June 2013, his behaviour continued to deteriorate, the court heard.

“It was worrying at the time, it was getting progressively worse,” Fee told the court.

She also denied any of the youngsters were scared of the snakes kept in the house or that they were deprived of food or access to the toilet.

Friday May 13, 2016

Women did phone search for ‘broken hip in baby’

Mobile phones belonging to two women accused of murdering a toddler were used to carry out internet searches on subjects such as “How do you die of a broken hip?” and “How long can you live with a broken bone?”, a jury has heard.

Nyomi Fee and Rachel Trelfa’s devices were used to run the Google searches on 19 March 2014, three days before two-year-old Liam Fee was found dead at a house in Fife, a murder trial was told.

Trelfa’s phone was also used to search, on another occasion, “Can wives be in prison together?”, the jury heard.

The murder trial also heard about messages sent between the two devices. A message from Fee’s phone to Trelfa’s mobile stated: “Kids should be drowned at birth to save problems, lol.”

The searches and messages were read out to the court by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC during the evidence of Evita O’Malley, a major crime analyst with Police Scotland.

She was the final witness to give evidence for the Crown in the case against Trelfa, 31, and Fee, 28, at the high court in Livingston.

The civil partners deny murdering toddler Liam, who died on 22 March 2014, and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

Originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, they also plead not guilty to a string of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other boys over a period of more than two years.

O’Malley said she analysed the phones after they were surrendered to police by the accused.

The court heard how Fee’s phone had been used to search for the term “broken leg” on 17 March 2014. Two days later, searches were made on the mobile for “how do you die of a broken hip?”, “how to prevent blood clots”, and “broken hip in baby”.

Internet searches were also made for “will a hip fracture heal on its own” and “hip brace for toddlers”, jurors were told.

On 20 and 21 March 2014, questions asked on the same phone included “can you refuse to be treated by a certain doctor?” and “can social services gain access to my house?”, jurors were told.

By 21 March, the day before Liam died, a search was carried out onTrelfa’s phone for “Can wives be in prison together?”, while another asked: “Can lesbians who are married hot (sic) to jail together?”

Questioned by defence QC Brian McConnachie, for Trelfa, the witness agreed that the pair had handed over the phones to the police at the first opportunity when they were questioned as witnesses.

The crown has now formally closed its case.

Mark Stewart QC, defending Fee, told the court some legal matters now have to be discussed. The jury in the trial, being held before judge Lord Burns, will return to court on Tuesday.

Thursday May 12, 2016

‘No concerns’ over child murder interviews

A senior social worker defended the way he and a police officer interviewed two seven-year-old boys about the death of tragic toddler Liam Fee.

Charlie Finlay and detective constable Valerie Tweedy questioned the two children for 27 hours following the discovery of little Liam’s body in the house the boys shared, a jury heard.

Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 29, are on trial at the High Court in Livingston for murdering Liam by repeatedly inflicting blunt force trauma on him and then blaming his death on one of the boys.

They are also accused of assaulting, abusing and neglecting Liam and the two boys, who were in their care at their home in Fife for two years until Liam was found dead there in March 2014.

They deny all the charges.

Under questioning by Fee’s defence counsel Mark Stewart yesterday, Mr Finlay, 59, insisted that the interview techniques they used had been in line with national guidelines.

He told the court: “Professionally, I’m satisfied we conducted these interviews in a professional and attentive manner that allowed (both boys) free expression about what took place.”

He also defended his decision to inform one of the boys during a carefully controlled interview that Nyomi Fee was a liar because she had told the youngster his father was dead.

Mr Stewart suggested that sharing of that information might have challenged that child’s perception of the accused and caused him to change his version of events.

Mr Finlay said: “I fully accept responsibility for that. What’s clear is you have to act in the best interests of the child.

“That’s a child who believed that his father had been killed. I had no option but to share that with that child.

“The over-riding principle from the national guidance is we have to act in the best interests of the child. The child’s well-being is paramount.”

Under re-examination by advocate depute Alex Prentice, he agreed that the guidance was just that, not rules “written in tablets of stone”.

He stressed that he had seen no reason to halt the interviews as a result of either of the boys becoming distressed but agreed that the seven-year-olds had been “fidgety”.

He also said that the interview had to be “phased” to win the trust of the children involved and take into account that they might have been “coached” by adults.

He told the jury: “That may arise when where a patient or carer is involved in the allegations. The emphasis is on asking appropriate questions.”

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Gary McPherson, an expert on conducting interviews with children, told the court that he watched most of the interviews with both boys.

He concluded: “Overall, I have no concerns regarding the joint investigative interviews with (the boys).”

The trial, before Lord Burns, continues

Wednesday May 11, 2016

Mother cried during murder charge

A mother wept as she was charged with murdering her toddler son in a video shown to a court.

Jurors were shown a video recorded at Kirkcaldy police station, Fife, on Wednesday August 20 2014, about five months after the death of two-year-old Liam Fee.

In it, Rachel Trelfa, also known as Fee, wiped her eyes and could be heard sobbing as a police officer formally charged her with murdering the child in March that year.

Trelfa, who was wearing a grey short-sleeved top, made no reply to the allegation, in which she was accused of acting alongside her partner Nyomi Fee.

Trelfa was also charged that evening with wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys, jurors heard.

The detail emerged during the evidence of Detective Constable Steven McLean, 34, of the major investigation team at Kirkcaldy – the officer who charged Trelfa.

The court was also shown a video, from the same day in August 2014, of the moment police charged Nyomi Fee with murdering Liam and ill-treating the boys.

She appeared tearful in the video and put her hands over part of her face once the charges were read out to her by Detective Constable Lorraine MacPherson.

The court also heard how both women were interviewed separately on April 11 2014 as suspects – a change from their previous status as witnesses.

Both remained largely silent during those interviews, as was their right, the court heard.

Liam was found dead at a house in Fife on March 22 2014.

Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and Nyomi Fee, 28, have been on trial for 21 days at the High Court in Livingston, where they deny murdering the two-year-old and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

The pair – originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear – also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two young boys over a period of more than two years.

Tuesday May 10, 2016

Accused knew toddler was dead

A jury in the Liam Fee murder trial has heard an account from one of the two women accused about the night the toddler died.

In a police statement read to the jury, Nyomi Fee said she went to check on Liam and knew he was dead because he was so white.

Nyomi Fee and her partner Rachel Fee deny murdering Liam on 22 March 2014 and blame his death on another child.

Liam Fee was found dead in a house near Glenrothes, Fife.

The pair are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children, one of whom they blame for killing Liam, while in their care over a two-year period.

The women, who are both originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, deny all the charges against them.

Nyomi Fee, 29, also told police she had been playing “High Fives” with him on the day he died, the court heard.

Nyomi Fee told Constable Dorothy Millar that the two-year-old “liked to high five” – lifting up his arm and smacking palms with her.

In an interview statement she gave a few days after Liam was found dead in the Fife flat Fee shared with Liam’s mum Rachel, she added: “He would mimic with his hands and he would copy me.”

However, a jury previously heard medical evidence that the tragic toddler had a broken arm and a broken thigh which would have caused him pain if he moved.

In Nyomi Fee’s statement, which she signed on every page after it was read back to her, she said she had played with Liam in the afternoon while Rachel Fee was out looking after her horse.

Rachel Fee returned home at about 18:15 and they poured themselves glasses of vodka and fizzy orange and put on some music.

She said: “Liam was nodding off in his buggy so we decided to put him in his room. I think it was around 6.30pm – Rachel hadn’t been back that long.

“Rachel and I went to the living room and put on a Clubland CD to listen to some music.

“It wasn’t loud enough to annoy the neighbours but we couldn’t hear the kids playing in their room as the door was closed.”

Nyomi said she shut Liam in his bedroom asleep in his buggy with the door shut.

When he went to check on him she went back to check on at what “must have been” 7.40pm, she found the buggy had been moved forward to a new position.

Liam was lying lifeless in it with his face partly covered with a blanket.

“He was so white,” she told police, “so I pulled the blanket off him.

“I picked up his hands and they were floppy. I just knew he was dead because he was so white.

“I screamed for Rachel: ‘Rachel, Rachel!’ and she came straight through. She started screaming: ‘Call an ambulance’. I dialled 999 then I got Liam.”

Earlier the jury heard evidence from wound nurse Pauline Emslie, 47.

She said the accused brought a boy they blame for Liam’s death to her for examination.

She said she found a pressure ulcer on his toe and skin grafts “very badly infected” with redness spreading up the foot.

“Rachel was very surprised and asked how this could have happened,” she said.

“I explained to her that infections do sometimes happen in children.

“I did ask when she thought the infection had started. She said it must have just happened.

“I think it would have been very difficult not to notice that the feet were like that. They’d have been very painful and it looked like the infection was well established.”

Asked if the wounds would have been painful, she replied: “Very much so. Yes. I contacted the health visitor and also the child protection adviser at the Sick Children’s Hospital.

“I had concerns because after the initial injury there seemed to be a delay in seeking medical advice because the wounds were very deep, and this time it was an infection that had not been noticed.”

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

Monday May 9, 2016

Liam Fee murder accused ‘knew they were in trouble’

A friend of the two women accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee has told a court they “knew they were in trouble” after the child’s death, and he warned them: “You’ll be going to jail for neglect.”

John Taylor, 27, said Rachel Trelfa asked him: “Do you think we’ll get a cell together?”

Mr Taylor told the court he had a “weird” meeting with the pair after Liam died, which made him feel uncomfortable and want to get drunk.

And during one encounter, they used “horrible names” to refer to a young boy they claimed had strangled Liam, the court heard.

Liam’s mother Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, are on trial for a fifth week at the High Court in Livingston, where they deny murdering two-year-old Liam and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

They also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two young boys over a period of more than two years.

The witness told the court that he and his partner have known the couple for about four years and would see them on a regular basis.

He described how he met up with the women in a Dunfermline pub on the Tuesday after Saturday March 22, 2014 – the day on which Liam died at a house in Fife – and then met them again some days later.

Asked about the women’s attitude on the second meeting, he said: “Nyomi didn’t really care. I felt sorry for Rachel to be honest. I think at one point I said: ‘You’ll be going to jail for neglect’.”

He went on: “Rachel said, ‘Do you think we’ll get a cell together?”

Mr Taylor said he was distraught and upset during the meeting, which he described as “strange”.

He told the court: “They just knew there was something wrong. They knew they were in trouble. They didn’t seem that bothered. It was very weird, uncomfortable.”

Mr Taylor said he felt “gobsmacked” during the meeting.

“I was like, I can’t believe what I’m hearing, I just need to get drunk… Me and Rachel got really upset, I was comforting Rachel quite a lot,” he said.

Earlier he told how, during the meeting in the pub, Trelfa was “distraught” and some “crazy” things were said.

He said the women claimed a young boy had “strangled” Liam or put his hand over the child’s mouth.

“There wasn’t really much talk about Liam. It was more they were angry with the boy, to be honest,” he said.

Mr Taylor later told the court the women had used “horrible names” to refer to the young boy and said he was “like an animal”.

Names such as “little bastard”, “little monster” and “rapist” were used to refer to the boy, the witness said.

During cross questioning by defence QC Mark Stewart, it emerged that the witness is in jail for police assault, his second time in custody.

“I’ve got quite a record, actually,” Mr Taylor told jurors.

Friday May 6, 2016

Officer heard murder accused shout “evil” at boy after toddler’s death

The mother of Liam Fee described hearing a “blood-curdling scream” as she learned her son was dead, the High Court in Livingston has heard.

The jury has been listening to a police statement made by Rachel Fee in the hours after the two-year-old boy died in Glenrothes, Fife, on 22 March 2014.

She said her partner Nyomi went to check on Liam at about 19:00 and seconds later she heard screaming.

Rachel Fee told detectives she ran into his bedroom to find Liam “lifeless”.

The 31-year-old and her partner Nyomi Fee, 28, are accused of murdering Liam and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a young boy.

They are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children, one of whom they blame for killing Liam, while in their care over a two-year period.

The women, who are both originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, deny all the charges against them.

In the police statement, Rachel Fee told police how she ran into Liam’s bedroom and “immediately saw he was pure white and lifeless”.

She described Nyomi making a 999 call and her partner’s efforts to help Liam.

In the statement, Rachel also told of confronting a seven-year-old standing at the bedroom door.

She said: “As I was screaming at him and shaking him, asking him what he’d done, he just looked at me and put his hands up to his face.

“He put one hand on his mouth and the other round his neck. The hand over his nose and mouth was like he was suffocating and the hand on his throat was like choking.”

Under cross examination by her defence counsel Brian McConnachie, the detective who conducted the interview described the scene at the house as “pandemonium”.

Det Con Gary McMillan also said he had heard either Rachel or Nyomi shout the words “evil” and “pervert” at the seven-year-old but could not recall which of them had spoken.

Another officer, Det Con Douglas Moyes, gave evidence that he recovered items allegedly used by the Fees to make a makeshift cage, including a fireguard.

The trial has previously claims that a young boy was sometimes made to sleep in such a cage.

The trial continues.

Liam Fee.

Thursday May 5, 2016

Jury weeps as court is shown video of toddler’s body

Members of the jury in the Liam Fee murder trial wept as they were shown a police video of the toddler’s body hours after he was found dead.

Rachel Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 28, are accused of murdering the two-year-old in March 2014 at a house near Glenrothes, Fife, and ill-treating two other boys.

The two women deny all the charges against them.

On day 16 of the trial at the High Court in Livingston, jurors watched the 12-minute recording, which detailed every room of the property.

Jurors immediately asked for a break after watching the film.

The video was shown to the jury at the High Court in Livingston.

It showed Liam lying on the floor of his bedroom in his pyjamas, covered in a duvet. The video was taken by detectives in the early hours of 23 March 2014.

The court had previously heard paramedics arrived at the house just after 20:00 the previous evening.

The video showed each room of the house where the toddler lived with Rachel and Nyomi Fee. There was a cot in the room, alongside a buggy and pictures of Liam on the wall.

As the recording came to an end, jurors, some of whom had been visibly upset, asked judge Lord Burns for a break in proceedings.

The two accused were also seen weeping in the dock.

Later, Police Constable Sam Girdwood, 24, told the trial he and his partner were called to the house after receiving a report a baby was in cardiac arrest and may have been strangled by a young boy.

Pc Girdwood said he arrived and Rachel Fee was standing with the boy who she and Nyomi are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

He said: “She had a hold of the young boy and told him to tell me what had happened. He mumbled something that sounded like ‘I strangled him’.”

The officer said he took the boy into a separate room from the women where he repeated the claim, and brought it up later at Glenrothes police station.

He said: “He wanted to tell me what happened. He put his hand up in the air to say he had done this to (Liam). He went on to say something along the lines of (Liam) was getting more attention than him.”

The court has previously heard evidence from paramedics who had been called to the property shortly after 8pm on March 22.

Mr Falconer said he then went to the home with a police scene examiner at about 1.15am, when the video was taken.

Among the scenes recorded was the child’s bedroom, the living room and hall, where numerous family photos were displayed on the walls.

In the main bedroom, cages containing small animals could be seen and Mr Falconer said he thought these were either mice or rats.

The court also heard from Pc Girdwood’s shift partner, Police Constable Leanne St Aubyn, 34, who said Liam’s mother fell to her knees crying when she was told he was dead but Nyomi did not show “any reaction”.

She added that she checked Liam’s neck but saw no markings.

Earlier on Thursday, the court heard from the partner of one of the couple’s neighbours.

Edward Mullen, 51, described how he had heard female crying coming from the home on the evening of March 22.

“What I said to my partner was ‘that sounds like someone got bad news next door’ and I wondered did they get a call that a parent had died,” he said.

The court has previously heard from a pathologist that Liam died from “blunt-force trauma to his torso”.

Both accused, who are originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, also wept as the video was played to the jury.

The couple are accused of murdering Liam and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a young boy.

They are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children, one of whom they blame for killing Liam, while in their care over a two-year period.

They deny all the charges against them.

The trial continues.

Wednesday May 4, 2016

Liam Fee murder trial: Court hears nursery staff recorded injuries on toddler

A nursery manager has told a murder trial that staff recorded a number of injuries on toddler Liam Fee during the three months he attended.

Kimberly Trail said the two-year-old started at the private facility in Fife in March 2013 and seemed a “happy wee boy” who played well with other children.

But staff were noticing bruises and he seemed to lose weight before he was removed 12 weeks later after the nursery contacted social workers, she said.

Ms Trail was giving evidence at the High Court in Livingston where Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering the toddler in March 2014 and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

A series of photographs taken by nursery staff of Liam, who attended two days a week, showing him playing with toys, on a slide and reading books were shown to the court.

Ms Trail, 36, said in her opinion the photos revealed that over a period of time Liam’s skin had grown paler, he had bags under his eyes and he had lost weight.

Jurors were also shown a number of diagrams nursery staff used to record injuries on the toddler.

One from April 8 showed bruising to his bottom, which staff noted his mother said came from Liam “nipping himself”.

Ms Trail said it was at this point that his mother had raised the issue that Liam could have had autism and the nursery then sent two members of staff on special training to support him.

Other diagrams recorded a swollen lip, bruising to his ears and nails, and in early June social services had been contacted. The two women then removed him from the nursery, the court heard.

The jury has already been told Liam had attended a childminder before he was registered with the nursery.

Patricia Smith, 37, a woman who had used the same childminder, also gave evidence on Wednesday.

She told the court about an occasion when she saw the two accused outside a shop in Kirkcaldy with Liam in his buggy months after he had stopped going to the childminder.

“I peered into the buggy to see Liam and I noticed he had a blanket over his head and I apologised and said I didn’t realise he was sleeping. Rachel said he was awake and at that point I felt something was wrong.”

Asked by advocate depute Alex Prentice, prosecuting, what that was, she replied: “The stillness. There was something deathly about it. He was too still to be sleeping. It was very strange.”

She said she told a colleague that she was with that “something was not right” and added: “I felt sick.”

Mr Prentice asked: “What was upsetting you?”

“I didn’t know if he was drugged or dead,” she replied.

She said when she returned to her office she then phoned social work.

liam1

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Childminder feared ‘somebody was hurting’ Liam Fee

A childminder has told a court she alerted a care watchdog as she feared “somebody was hurting” a toddler two women are accused of murdering.

Heather Farmer, 48, broke down in tears as she said she was so worried about Liam Fee that she could not sleep.

Ms Farmer said she started looking after the youngster at her home in Fife when he was 11 months old in July 2012 and kept a work diary which showed he was walking, talking, interacting with other children, singing and playing with toys.

She said he initially seemed a “happy and content” youngster but this changed and she became concerned about the amount of bruises he had and noted he was “withdrawn”.

She told the High Court in Livingston: “After Christmas I noticed a big change in Liam. He was very quiet. He didn’t want to interact with other children. He seemed sad.”

The childminder noted bruises to his legs and back on different occasions in 2012 and contacted the Scottish Childminding Association (SCA) in January 2013 after he turned up with scratches and bruises to his face, days after arriving with a bruised forehead and legs which his mother Rachel Trelfa, also known as Rachel Fee, told her was from falling out his cot.

Ms Farmer said: “I thought something wasn’t right. I thought somebody was hurting Liam.”

The court heard a note of the phone conversation she had with the Care Inspectorate, which the SCA had advised her to call.

It said: “Heather stated that she had observed a number of injuries over a period of time.

“Last week he had a black eye and bad bruising on his forehead. His mum said he must have fallen when climbing out of the travel cot and she found him asleep on the floor.

“Heather is concerned that his mum had not heard him fall. She is not certain that there is anything sinister about his injuries but at the very least she is concerned he might not be properly supervised.

“She said that she was not sleeping because she was worried.”

Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering two-year-old Liam at a house in Thornton on March 22 2014 and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

The murder charge alleges the couple assaulted Liam on various occasions between March 15 and March 22, 2014.

Trelfa and Fee also deny a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys and are further accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

They deny all the charges.

Monday 2 May 2016 – No court – Bank holiday

Friday, 29 April, 2016 

Murder accused ‘removed toddler from nursery over social services call’

Two women accused of murdering a toddler removed him from nursery after staff contacted social services, a court has heard.

Elizabeth Wilson, 41, from Fife, said she had been told by his mother that two-year-old Liam Fee had stopped going to the private nursery in Kirkcaldy.

Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering Liam at a house in Fife in March 2014 and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

Ms Wilson, a part-time bartender, told the High Court in Livingston she met and became friendly with Rachel when they both kept horses at Grantsmuir Farm near Kirkcaldy.

The witness said she was aware that Liam attended the nursery but was told by Rachel he had stopped going.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, asked: “Did Rachel give a reason why it stopped?”

She replied: “Because they had phoned social services. There were a few issues and they called social services on them, I think.”

Ms Wilson described an occasion when she met the couple outside a shop and saw Liam in a buggy with a blanket over his head.

Asked what Rachel had said to her, the witness replied: “Don’t speak to him or look at him because he’d play up or it would upset him, or something to that effect. Just because she claimed he was autistic.”

She told the jury she had some knowledge of autism in relation to her own daughter and had discussed this with Rachel.

“I felt like afterwards she was using snippets of what I’d told her. That’s how it felt to me anyway.”

Ms Wilson described another occasion when she had been giving Rachel a lift in her car and the other woman’s phone had rung.

She said: “I think it was the health visitor. I think Liam was due for a check-up and she just said she wasn’t going to answer it.

“She didn’t want to take Liam down because he’d scratched himself and he had a few marks on his feet. I said ‘just answer the phone and take him down. If there’s no problem, just take him’.”

Asked if she would have taken her own child to a health-visitor appointment even if they had bruises, she replied: “Yes.”

Trelfa and Fee also deny a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys.The witness described another occasion when Rachel told her that one of these boys had sworn at her.

“She said that she washed his mouth out with washing liquid or soap and I said ‘you don’t do that’.”

The witness also said Rachel had once cancelled a lift to take one of the boys to hospital because he “had blisters on his feet which had turned to gangrene, which I thought was a bit dramatic”.

“I said ‘how has it got to that point? Did you not see his feet were bad?'”

Ms Wilson said she had been told the injuries were the result of tight plimsolls and that her friend had later shown “horrific” photographs of the boy’s injuries to people at the horse yard.

“Personally, if it had been me I wouldn’t have shown anybody, I would have been mortified,” she said.

Thursday 28th April, 2016

Boy ‘scared of being punished’ by accused

A young boy was “scared” of being punished when he stayed with two women accused of murdering a toddler, a court has heard.

Jurors saw video footage of a police interview with the young witness in the trial of Rachel Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 28.

The couple deny murdering Liam Fee in Fife in March 2014 at a house in Glenrothes, Fife.

They also deny ill-treating two other boys.

The jury has already heard the young witness describe another child being made to hit him with a tube of cream and a shoe, and of being made to take cold showers.

He also told the police interviewer of an occasion when he was tied to a chair in a locked room all night with a boa constrictor.

On day 13 of the trial at the High Court in Livingston, the jury heard the police officer ask the boy: “Were you ever scared?”

“Yes, I was scared sometimes,” he replied.

“You were scared of the punishment?” the police officer asked. “Yes,” he replied.

The boy was asked about the time he said he had been “punished” by being tied to a wooden chair with a pink dressing gown tie all night.

“I couldn’t get out,” he said.

“They had lots of snakes. They had a boa constrictor and they were threatening me, saying that it might come out and eat me, because they eat little boys as well if they are bad.”

He said the boa constrictor was in its cage but the door to the room had been locked with a silver chain and padlock.

“If I did escape, I wouldn’t have been able to get out anyway,” he said.

“Getting tied, that was a bad punishment.”

A friend of Rachel Fee told the court that the accused had told her Liam was taken out of nursery because staff had alerted social services.

Elizabeth Wilson said she got to know Rachel Fee because she would give her a lift to Grantsmuir farm near Kirkcaldy, where they both kept horses.

She said she had met Liam on a number of occasions and recalled one time when she saw him in his buggy with a blanket over his head.

Ms Wilson said Rachel had told her not to talk or look at Liam because he had autism.

She also said she knew that Liam was at a private nursery in Kirkcaldy but that he had stopped going because social services had become aware of a few issues.

Rachel Fee and Nyomi Fee, who are originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, are accused of murdering Liam in March 2014 and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a seven-year-old boy.

The couple are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children in their care over a two-year period.

One of these boys is the witness the jury heard from while the other is the child they are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

They deny all the charges against them.

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

Wednesday April 27, 2016

Accused ‘encouraged’ boys to hit each other

The two women accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee “panicked” as they tried to dismantle a makeshift cage in which they allegedly imprisoned another boy, a jury has heard.

A video interview with a child witness was played on day 12 of the trial of Rachel Trelfa, or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, who are accused of murdering two-year-old Liam and falsely blaming his death on another boy.

In the recording, filmed after Liam’s death in March 2014, the child witness described the reactions of the accused after they realised the toddler was dead.

The witness, who cannot be named due to his age, said: “They were panicking about the cage. They were asking ‘where, where, where’ can the cage go?”

He said he heard Trelfa say they could not put it in the bedroom because the other boy would “never see you ever again”. He said they then undid the cage.

He was asked: “What happened to the cage then?”

The child replied: “I don’t know.”

He gave evidence he had seen the other youngster kept prisoner in the cage, made from a fireguard and wire mesh from a bed.

He also claimed the couple removed a mattress from the living room where they normally slept and put it in a bedroom normally shared by the boys.

The night Liam died, he said he and the other boy were stripped naked and ordered to carry out punishment exercises because they had been “grounded”.

Earlier he said the couple had forced him and the other boy to hit each other on the private parts with a training shoe and a tube of cream which caused him to bleed.

When they told him Liam was dead they ordered him and the other boy to get dressed quickly because police were on their way.

The jury at the High Court in Livingston heard the witness say the women were “screaming around the house”.

He said: “They never told the police because they thought they were going to get in jail for that.”

The boy said he told Trelfa “it was OK” but she replied: “It’s not going to be OK if you’re going to prison.”

He said Fee had told him he needed to tell police what the other boy had done to him.

The child said on one occasion, Fee was lying in bed encouraging the other boy to hit him on the private parts with a trainer and he had to do the same to him.

He was asked: “Did you ever have to do anything to Liam?”

He answered: “No because he wasn’t bad.”

Questioned about how Trelfa made him feel at the property in Fife, he said: “Sad, unhappy.”

Asked: “What about [Nyomi]?”, he answered: “I didn’t like her because she did stuff. Because she smacked both of us. Both of us were grounded. She would smack us.”

The couple, originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, are accused of murdering Liam in March 2014 and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a boy.

They are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children in their care over a two-year period.

One of these boys is the witness the jury has heard from this week,while the other is the child they are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

The couple deny all the charges against them.

The trial has also heard claims that one of the accused encouraged two young boys to hit each other.

The jury heard recorded evidence from a child who said Nyomi Fee told another boy to hit him with a shoe in the private parts.

The child said he ended up bleeding.

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

Tuesday April 26, 2016

Liam Fee murder trial hears accused told boy she had killed his father

A young boy has told a murder trial that one of the accused told him she had “killed his dad” with a type of drill.

The boy was giving evidence via a video interview at the trial of Rachel Trelfa, or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, who are accused of murdering Trelfa’s two-year-old son Liam Fee and falsely blaming his death on another boy.

In the interview footage shown to the jury on day 11 of the trial at the High Court in Livingston, the boy claimed he suffered a catalogue of abuse at the hands of the two accused.

He said Fee told him she had a type of drill which was used to castrate young boys, made him eat his own sick, and forced him to take cold showers if he wet the bed – after banning him from going to the toilet for long periods of time.

He said Fee told him she had killed his father with the drill-like machine, and he added: “I didn’t like it. I was thinking I would be dead.”

The interviewers, a police officer and social worker, told him his father was still alive.

The boy said he was banned from going to the toilet in the night but given cold showers “for 15 or 20 minutes” if he wet the bed and one day he spent the whole day in a cold shower, drip drying in between.

He said the showers made him shake and Fee told him to “stand still”.

He also said he was made to hit the boy the women are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death 20 times with an action figure, and was told by Fee to “whack him really hard”.

In previous evidence, he said the other boy was responsible for Liam’s death because Fee had told him so.

Liam was found dead at a house in Fife on March 22, 2014.

The jury has already been shown a video interview with that boy, who told police he had “strangled” Liam but that the toddler had been sitting up and watching television afterwards

Trelfa and Fee also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two young boys, who cannot be named because of their age, over a period of more than two years.

One of these boys is the witness the jury heard from on Tuesday while the other is the child they are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

Monday 25/4/16

Liam Fee murder trial: Child witness tells court another boy ‘killed Liam’

A MURDER trial has heard a young boy claim that another child was responsible for the death of toddler Liam Fee .

The jury has been shown a video of a police interview with the young witness carried out the day after Liam was found dead at a house in Fife on March 22, 2014.

In the interview, the witness said another boy had “done something bad, very, very bad, he’s killed (Liam).”

Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering the two-year-old and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

On day ten of the trial at the High Court in Livingston , the jury heard the young witness say he had been playing with the other child in a room at the house as Liam slept in the room next door.

He said: “I think he sneaked out the door and into Liam’s room and put his hand over his mouth so he couldn’t breathe. Then he sneaked back.”

The witness said he did not see the other boy leaving or re-entering the room.

Asked by the police officer how he knew what had happened, he said Nyomi Fee “told me everything”. He added: “No-one else would have hurt him.”

The witness said Nyomi Fee had told him that Liam was white and not breathing, and that he had heard both of the accused “screaming and panicking”.

He said Nyomi Fee had also told the other child “look what you’ve done”.

He told the police officer the other boy “thought he was in big, big trouble because he had done it to him”.

“He was saying ‘what have I done?’, stuff like that.”

The witness said he did not speak to the other boy because “he’s just killed somebody, I wouldn’t want to talk to a killer”.

The young boy told police: “I love Liam, he’s so cute, and now he’s gone.”

Trelfa and Fee also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill treating and neglecting two young boys, who cannot be named because of their age, over a period of more than two years.

One of these boys is the witness the jury have been hearing from while the other is the child they are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

The jury have already been shown a video interview with that boy, who told police he had “strangled” Liam but that the toddler had been sitting up and watching television afterwards.

Friday 22/4/16

Trial day 9: Court hears claims murder accused stood on boy’s neck

A child witness in the Liam Fee murder trial claimed he lost consciousness after one of the accused stood on his neck as he lay on the floor.

The boy said Nyomi Fee, 29, stopped him breathing after kicking and punching him.

Jurors have been hearing pre-recorded interviews with the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, the women blame for the death, conducted by a police officer and social worker.

Asked about an occasion when something happened to his neck, he said: “It was at night… I was getting smacked and punched and I was told to lie on the floor and she (Fee) put her foot on my neck and it made me unconscious for a while.

“I woke up and she was hurting me and punching me on my back because I must have done something but I don’t know what because I was unconscious.”

The boy described how he was “choking” and could see a bright light.

He added: “I couldn’t breathe. It was sore.”

He said such an attack happened more than once and spoke of an occasion in which Fee made Trelfa join in.

“It was extra sore,” he told interviewers.

The boy also described trying to get out of their house on three occasions.

On one occasion, he was smacked and told to get in a drawer unit after being caught by Fee, the court heard.

Referring to the second attempt to flee, he described how he managed to untie himself during the night from a cot, before trying to pack some clothes and food. He also tied some bandages together, jurors heard.

“I tried to open the window but it was locked and I was looking for the keys and I couldn’t find it,” he said.

The court heard his plan was “to put down the ropes, bandages and climb down the house”, but he said it did not work because Fee caught him.

He said: “She came in to check on me. She shouted to (Trelfa) and she was smacking me, Nyomi. Then she took out the drawer and put it on the floor of the corridor and I was told to go in it and she put heavy things on top of it.”

They boy also described trying to leave the house on another occasion when a cage for rats had been placed in front of his door.

He claimed Fee later made her civil partner 32-year-old Rachel Trelfa – Liam’s mum – join in on one occasion.

He said: “I was lying on the floor getting smacked and punched and she (Nyomi) put her foot on my neck and it made me unconscious for a while.

“I was choking and I couldn’t breathe. It was sore. When I woke up she was punching me on my back because I must have done something but I don’t know what.

“When they both did it it was extra sore,” he said.

She put wire mesh, a wheelchair and a Hoover on top of him to stop him from escaping again, he said.

Rachel Trelfa and Nyomi Fee deny murdering two and a half year-old Liam at a house near Glenrothes in March 2014.

They also deny wilfully neglecting and harming two other boys.

The trial before Lord Burns continues.

Thursday 21/4/16

Murder trial jurors hear how young boy was tied to home-made cage

rachel

Parents: Rachel Fee, Liam’s mother, and her life partner Nyomi Fee

Two women accused of causing the death of toddler Liam Fee tied a young boy to a locked home-made cage at night-time, a court has heard.

The boy, who cannot be named, told police his hands and feet would be bound with cable ties to the makeshift cage constructed out of a fireguard and bars.

He told how his hands would swell up and was called “pudding hands” by one of the accused, jurors heard.

The child also described how he would sometimes be naked in the cage, had his hands tied behind his back on occasion and would have objects placed on him to make sure he did not move.

Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, are on trial for a second week at the High Court in Livingston, where they deny murdering two-year-old Liam and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

They also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two young boys over a period of more than two years.

The jury has been shown various pre-recorded interviews with the boy the women blame for the death which were held in the weeks after Liam died at a house in Fife on Saturday March 22 2014.

On day eight of the trial, the jury heard the child tell a police officer and social worker about a “cage” in the living room.

He described being locked in the makeshift construction, which was tied together with cable ties. He said he would be “sitting up, sometimes lying down, tied there” and showed his arms being stretched out and up.

“It was made of a fireguard and there was some bars,” he said, adding the bars came from the under the mattress on a bed.

The child said it happened “after Christmas” and described how the cage would stay in the living room but would get moved into another room when a nurse came round to look at his sore feet.

“Why did you have to go in there (the cage)?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” the child replied.

“What did you get tied with?” the interviewers asked.

“Cable ties,” he replied, adding that both his arms would be bound, and feet.

“How long would you be tied to that cage for?” he was asked.

“All night,” the boy said, later adding that it happened once in the daytime.

He said Nyomi would do it to him but that Rachel would also do it when Nyomi was away.

The child also described how the accused would throw jackets over the cage when they were watching DVDs so that he could not see.

“Did you have any clothes on?” he was asked.

“No clothes on,” the boy replied. He agreed that he had slept in the cage in the living room.

Jurors heard him describe how his tied hands would become red and swollen, and that Nyomi had called him “pudding hands”.

He described how, on other occasions, he would be tied to a cot with a dressing-gown cord and coat belts.

Wednesday 20/4/16

Liam Fee murder trial: Boy ‘in other room’ when toddler Liam Fee died

A boy witness in the Liam Fee murder case said he heard the two women accused of murdering him shouting “Liam’s dead.”

The trial of Liam’s mum Rachel Trelfa, 32 and Nyomi Fee, 32 continued at the High Court in Livingston on Wednesday.

The pair are charged with murdering two-year-old Liam on March 22 2014 and blaming the killing on a boy.

The jury heard a recording where the boy told interviewers he heard Trelfa crying and telling her civil partner Fee that her son was dead.

“I saw it,” he said. “That’s how I know he died.”

“Because I saw. I saw the buggy. That’s why they were shouting and crying, ‘Liam’s dead’.”

The boy said he heard Fee going into Liam’s room.

Asked if anyone had blamed him for what happened, he replied that Fee had said “horrible things” to him.

The jury heard evidence that Liam’s thigh bone may have been broken when he tripped over a toy and landed heavily on Lego building blocks less than a week before his death.

The court was told Liam suffered a catalogue of injuries including a broken arm and leg and a blunt force trauma impact to the abdomen which ruptured his heart.

In the interview, the boy described how the youngster held his thigh and appeared to be in pain after the fall just six days before his death.

He said Fee’s remarks putting the blame on him had made him cry.

He added: “It does worry me. I’m sure I haven’t been got in trouble by doing anything else to him.”

In another part of the interview the boy claimed Fee had hit him and made him stand naked under cold showers.

He said she would also push him because he was shaking and shivering.

He said: “She’d say: ‘Get to the shower. Get in’.”

The interviewers asked: “What temperature was it?”

He replied: “Cold. She’s actually watching me so I can’t get out of the cold.”

The boy said he was also made to write punishment lines wearing only his underwear.

On Wednesday, the seventh day of the trial, the jury heard the boy tell a police officer and social worker that he was not allowed to get up to go to the toilet during the night, which sometimes meant he would wet the bed.

He said that made him feel “sad” and told interviewers he would have to take his pyjamas off and remove the bed sheets. He would then “have to get a shower, a cold one” as a result, the court heard, and he could also get a smack on his bottom which left it “red”.

The child told how the showers were used as punishment and would leave him “shaking”.

He said Nyomi Fee would make him get in the shower, but so too would Rachel Fee on occasions.

The boy said he would then have to stand on a towel “in the corridor” and agreed he would have to drip dry there, sometimes without even a vest on.

He said Nyomi Fee would show she was angry by calling him “dirty boy”.

The child also told how, on another occasion, Nyomi Fee had stamped on his feet and made them bleed.

Earlier, the child spoke about the day Liam died and told the interviewers: “I’m sad because he died.”

“When did you get told about Liam?” he was asked.

“I saw it,” he replied.

He also told the interviewers: “I saw a buggy lying on the floor, in the night time.”

The boy also agreed that Nyomi Fee had said “horrible things” to him that night and said it made him feel “sad”.

The jury watched a recording of the boy when he was being interviewed by a police officer and social worker in the weeks after Liam’s death.

He said police led him past the room where paramedics battled to save Liam Fee’s life.

“I saw it,” he said. “That’s how I know he died.”

He said he heard Nyomi going into Liam’s room. He said: “She said: ‘I’m going to check on him’. I heard Rachel crying.”

Asked if anyone had blamed him for what happened, he replied that “Auntie Ny” had said “horrible things” to him.

“[It was] because I messed my Lego on the floor and he tripped over it. I got the blame for that that night, the night the police came.”

The jury heard evidence that the two-year-old’s thigh bone may have been broken when he tripped over a toy and landed heavily on Lego building blocks less than a week before his death.

The boy was living in the same house as Liam when the toddler suffered a catalogue of injuries, including a broken arm and leg, as well as a blunt force trauma impact to the abdomen which ruptured his heart, the jury was told.

He said Nyomi Fee’s remarks putting the blame on him had made him cry.

He added: “It does worry me. Because I love him and I’m sad because he died.

“I know its fine to miss him. It’s not going to get me into trouble at all.

“I’m sure I haven’t been got in trouble by doing anything else to him.”

In another part of the interview, the boy alleged that Nyomi Fee had told him he was not allowed to get up and go to the toilet during the night. As a result, he said he frequently wet the bed.

He claimed she also smacked him and another boy in the house and made them stand naked under cold showers as punishment.

Trelfa and Fee deny murder, blaming the killing on a boy and a series of other child abuse charges.

The trial, before Lord Burns, continues.

Tuesday 19/4/16

Liam Fee murder trial: Boy ‘made up’ strangling toddler story

Today the Liam Fee murder trial heard a young boy say he made up a story about strangling the two-year-old.

In an interview days after Liam’s death in March 2014, the child said he had put his hand over the toddler’s mouth but said Liam was speaking afterwards.

The boy said later in the interview that he had made up the story.

Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa and civil partner Nyomi Fee deny murdering Liam at a house in Thornton near Glenrothes on March 22 2014 and blaming his death on another child.

A jury at the High Court in Livingston heard the boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, said he was punished by Trelfa and Fee.

In a filmed interview at social work offices in Glenrothes, in Fife – which was played in court – a boy claimed he had been put on “the naughty step” and made to write “lines” by the pair.

He said: “It was all my fault. That’s what she (Rachel) was saying.”

He added: “How was it my fault? I didn’t understand.”

The social worker asked him: “So you understand what happened to Liam?”

He responded: “Mmm, mmm.”

The boy said Liam had gone to bed after an alleged strangulation but had later been “talking, eating and walking”.

In an earlier part of the interview, the boy revealed that Liam – who the jury heard had a broken thigh and upper arm – was unable to walk far.

The youngster also told how Trelfa and Fee took him to a “snake house” in the town where they lived where there was a big snake called Hunter.

The Crown alleges that the Fees subjected Liam to two years of abuse before his death.

Both accused deny all charges against them.

The trial, before Lord Burns, continues.

Monday 18/4/16 – No court today

Friday 15/4/16

Boy tells of ‘strangling’ toddler

The trial has heard today that a young boy said he “strangled” toddler Liam Fee – but that the two-year-old was still sitting up and watching television afterwards.

The jury was played a pre-recorded video of the boy talking to police two days after the toddler died.

Nyomi Fee, 29, and Rachel Fee, 32, deny murdering Rachel’s son Liam in a house near Glenrothes.

The boy being questioned is the one the woman are accused of falsely blaming for the two-year-old’s death.

In the video played to the jury at High Court in Livingston, the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is talking to a social worker and a police officer.

He is seen demonstrating that he put one hand over Liam’s mouth.

When asked how long he had done this for, the boy replied “a minute”.

He was asked: “What did Liam do when you were doing that?”

“Nothing” the boy replied.

“What happened when you took your hand away?” the social worker said.

“He was sitting up,” the boy said. He told the adults that he had been watching a film called the Green Lantern, and that Liam was “looking around”, adding “at the telly”.

The High Court was closed to the public as the recording was played to the jury.

Earlier in the video evidence the child described being with Rachel and Nyomi Fee, Liam and another child on the day of the death.

He said they all got on the bus to Glenrothes.

Liam was in his buggy because he could not walk very far, the boy said.

He said they all went to McDonald’s and Liam ate a happy meal before they returned to the Fee’s house.

The boy described playing with Liam and the other boy after dinner that evening and seeing Rachel and Nyomi drinking Vodka in the living room.

Interviewed by a police officer and a social worker at Roxburgh Road social work office in Glenrothes two days later, the youngster said he and the other youngster had played with Liam in a bedroom after having their dinner.

He said Liam, who fed himself soup and bread in his high chair while they ate on the floor, was then picked up by “Auntie Ny” (Nyomi Fee) and taken through to his bedroom.

The jury heard him say: “Auntie Ny came in and said it was time for Liam’s nap, that it was bedtime.

“He was half awake but then he was closing his eyes when she was carrying him.

“When she put Liam in his bed. He’d fallen asleep.”

Asked what Liam was wearing he answered: “His jammies. Ny put them on in his room before dinner.”

Asked what happened next, he told the interviewers: “I get into the police car and come here.”

“Who phoned the police?,” the police officer asked. “Nobody,” he said, “the police came to the door to talk to me.”

The murder charge alleges that the couple assaulted Liam at a house in Fife on various occasions between 15 March and 22 March 2014.

They also face a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys over a period of more than two years.

The pair are accused of falsely telling others, including police, that a young boy was responsible for Liam’s death.

They deny all the charges and the trial continues.

Thursday 14/4/16

Court told toddler may have been sexually assaulted

Toddler Liam Fee may have been sexually assaulted and suffocated before he received the fatal blow which ruptured his heart, a murder trial has been told.

A jury heard that a single stamp to his abdomen which forced blood up a vein and burst open a hole in a chamber of his heart could equally have been administered by a seven-year-old child or an adult.

Liam’s mother Rachel, 28, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 32, are both accused of murdering the youngster at a house in Fife in March 2014 and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a seven year-old boy.

They deny the charges and associated allegations of child abuse involving Liam and two other children in their care.

Pathologist Dr Paul French, 38, told the High Court at Livingston that the heart injury was the most likely cause of Liam’s death.

Mark Stewart QC, defending Nyomi Fee, asked him if the force of being stamped on in a “sudden sharp manner” would generate the compressive effect that would lead to this heart injury. He replied: “That is one possibility, yes.”

Mr Stewart said: “That stamp would be likely to be applied to the abdomen?” “Yes.”

“That event if it occurred, would be capable of being executed by a single person?” “Yes, that is possible.”

“And that single person might have been a four stone child?” “Yes that is possible.”

The jury also heard that little Liam had severe bruising to his private parts consistent with being sexually groped roughly before he died.

Injuries in and around his mouth and nose could have been linked with someone putting their hand over his mouth and smothering him.

The jury also heard that bones in his upper arm and thigh which had been broken on two separate occasions – just prior to death and three to six days previously – could also have been the result of a stamping motion.

The trial, before Lord Burns, continues.

Wednesday 13/4/16

Died as a result of “blunt force” trauma to his upper body

TODDLER Liam Fee died from a ruptured heart after suffering injuries similar to those seen in car crash victims, a court heard today.

Pathologist Dr Paul French told a murder trial the heart rupture was caused by “blunt force trauma” and led to the two-year-old’s “rapid death”.

Liam’s mum Rachel Fee and her civil partner Nyomi Fee are accused of murdering the tot then falsely blaming a young boy for killing him.

The trial also heard Liam had suffered a fractured upper arm bone and a broken thigh bone before his death.

The jury at the High Court in Livingston was shown a graphic photograph of little Liam’s thigh bone from his postmortem, showing it clearly shattered into two pieces.

The leg and arm bones were fractured between three and five days and less than six hours before the youngster’s death at his home near Glenrothes, Fife on March 22 2014.

Dr French said those injuries would’ve been very painful for Liam. “He would’ve been crying, distressed and upset”, the specialist paediatric pathologist added.

The 38-year-old performed the postmortem on Liam at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital two days after his death.

In court he detailed 36 separate external injuries on the toddler’s body, most of which he said were caused by blunt force trauma.

These injuries included various abrasions, lacerations and bruises from the youngster’s head to his feet.

A possible bite mark on Liam’s arm and “extensive abrasions and bruising” to his private parts were outlined by Dr French.

Some of these injuries were unlikely to have come from the “normal rough and tumble of toddler”, he concluded.

In his pathology report he gave the cause of death as “blunt force injury of torso”, with the heart rupture most likely to have ended Liam’s life.

Dr French said: “An injury due to blunt force has caused this injury to the wall of the heart. You’ve got a hole in the heart as a consequence of trauma.”

He agreed with advocate depute Alex Prentice, prosecuting, that this would’ve have led to a rapid death.

Dr French said “severe force would be generally required to cause that injury”.

He added the rupture “most likely” occurred while Liam was still alive due to the large amount of blood found around the child’s heart.

In his report he concluded blunt force trauma to Liam’s abdomen had likely caused blood to be forced into his heart, causing it to burst.

Dr French told the court: “Similar heart injuries have been described in road traffic accidents.”

The trial heard evidence on Tuesday that Nyomi, 28, administered chest compressions to Liam’s body under the direction of an emergency operator during a frantic 999 call.

Dr French said it was “unlikely” that such resuscitation efforts caused the heart rupture, but it couldn’t be “wholly excluded”.

The Fees are accused of murdering Liam by inflicting “blunt force trauma” to his head and body between March 15 and his death a week later.

The women are also charged with blaming a young boy with killing Liam. In her 999 call previously played to the jury, Nyomi said the lad had “strangled” Liam.

Giving evidence, Dr French said Liam’s neck showed no sign of injury from manual strangulation.

The women, who went through a civil partnership in 2012, are further charged with failing to get Liam medical help in the run-up to his death.

Dr French said Liam’s right thigh bone was broken into two pieces while his left upper arm bone had suffered a “crack”. Both injuries would’ve been constantly painful and a bone expert said at least one of those injuries happened several days before Liam died.

An internal examination of Liam’s body found he’d previously suffered a rupture of the intestinal tract, the court heard. This didn’t occur at the time of death, added Dr French, and was likely caused by blunt force trauma.

This stomach wound would’ve been painful to Liam as well, the doctor said.

As part of the postmortem, Dr French explained he’d found Liam had a “low body weight for his age”.

In his report, read to the jury, he wrote: “He appears thin with reduced muscle bulk. Skin is almost hanging off his arms and legs.”

Dr French said this was evidence of “failure to thrive”, which is caused by “chronic disease, poor diet, behavioural problems leading to not eating, or potentially neglect”. He added there was no sign of disease with Liam.

The trial has heard Liam suffered a catalogue of torture for two years before being murdered.

Two other boys, including the youngster the Fees blame for killing Liam, were allegedly subjected to sickening abuse at their hands, including being locked in a cage and forced to eat dog excrement.

The trial continues.

Tuesday 12/4/16

Liam Fee murder day 2: Trial hears strangle claim in 999 call

A trial has heard that a woman accused of murdering a two-year-old boy in Fife along with her civil partner, claimed the child was strangled by another boy.

Nyomi Fee, 28, and Rachel Fee, 31, deny killing Rachel’s autistic son Liam in a house near Glenrothes on 22 March 2014.

The couple also deny harming two other children.

During the second day of evidence at the High Court in Livingston the pair wept as a 999 call they made was played to the jury.

In the 999 call made shortly before 20:00 on March 22, a distressed Nyomi Fee can be heard sobbing and saying “oh god, oh god” and “please, please” as she attempts to perform CPR on Liam with the help of the operator.

In the recording, she said: “Can you please hurry up, my baby’s not breathing.

“I think he’s dead, he’s not breathing, he’s white.”

She can then be heard telling the female operator that another young boy had “strangled” Liam.

She said: “He held his mouth closed, he said he held his mouth closed and his neck because he was crying, because he was trying to hurt him.”

The jury also heard evidence from James Graham, 44, an ambulance technician who attended at the couple’s house within minutes of the 999 call being made, alongside paramedic Alexander Higgins, 46.

Mr Graham told the jury: “The child was lying on the floor, he was facing us at that point. He was white. There were no signs of life, he appeared to be lifeless.”

He said Fee had shouted at another young boy: “You tell these men what you’ve done.”

Mr Graham said: “He just stood there with a look to say, I don’t know what I’ve done but it must be bad.”

Describing Liam, Mr Higgins told the jury: “When we first arrived he was very waxy looking, his skin was very pale and waxy.”

Earlier, Nyomi Fee’s mother Janice Fee, 57, a part-time carer from the north of England, was taken through a statement she gave to police about a phone call she received from her daughter that same day.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC, reading the statement to the court, said: “She was screaming and very upset, saying Liam’s dead, Liam’s dead.

“I could also hear Rachel screaming. I was in shock and didn’t know what was happening.”

Ms Fee said her daughter told her another young boy had told police he had “done it”, the court heard.

The statement read to the jury continued: “He had said how he did it. She said (the boy) held his nose and held his throat, that he had told the police twice.”

The jury also heard evidence from Liam’s grandmother, Gail Trelfa, 55.

She said she had been very close to her daughter Rachel and grandson Liam and had felt she had “lost” them after her daughter left his father to be with Nyomi Fee.

The murder charge alleges that the couple assaulted Liam at a house in Fife on various occasions between March 15 and March 22, 2014.

It is claimed the women repeatedly inflicted “blunt force trauma to his head and body” causing injuries so severe that he died on March 22 that year.

Between that date and April 30 2014, the two are said to have taken steps to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution, thereby attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Another charge denied by the women alleges that they assaulted Liam on various occasions between January 2012 and March 2014.

They also deny a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting Liam as well as two other young boys over a period of more than two years.

One of these boys is the person they are accused of falsely blaming Liam’s death on.

The charges of ill-treatment against that boy include allegations that he was locked in a makeshift cage for long periods and had a cage filled with rats put on his head.

The allegations concerning the other young boy include that he was tied up in a room where rats and snakes were kept.

The women deny all the charges. The trial, before Lord Burns, continues.

Monday 11/4/16

Trial day 1

A toddler suffered a horrific catalogue of torture for two years before he was murdered by his own mother and her partner, a trial heard today.

Rachel Fee (Trelfa) and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny killing her son in a house near Glenrothes on 22 March 2014 and blaming the death on another child.

The couple also allegedly subjected two other young boys to abuse and torment, which included being locked in a cage and forced to eat dog excrement, the court was told.

Little Liam and the other boys were allegedly tied up and beaten, given cold showers, and forced to wet the bed because they were banned from leaving their rooms at night

One of the youngsters was threatened with having his genitals cut off with a saw, and had a cage filled with rats put on his head, a jury heard.

The other boy was told that his dad was dead and the youngster had killed him, according to the charges.

They allege he was tied up in a room where rats, snakes and a boa constrictor were kept, and told the boa constrictor ate “naughty boys” while being forced to sleep there.

The court was told he had his face rubbed in soiled underwear and was made to eat his own vomit.

Jurors were read a five page indictment at the High Court in Livingston outlining the full horror of the crimes that Liam’s mother and her partner 28, are accused of.

The pair deny murdering little Liam at their home near Glenrothes, Fife, in March 2014, allegedly blaming a young boy for killing him.

The women, who live together in Ryton, Tyne and Wear, sat in the dock as the sickening charges were listed.

The couple are accused of murdering Liam after inflicting blunt force trauma some time in the week before his death.

Prosecutors said the injuries were caused by “means unknown”.

They are charged with delaying contacting emergency services after discovering Liam’s body and hiding evidence of their victims’ mistreatment in a bid to defeat the ends of justice.

The court heard they falsely incriminated one of the boys for Liam’s death, telling a 999 operator, police officers arriving at their home, and family and friends that he was responsible.

They deny ill-treating and neglecting Liam between January 12 2012, when he was just six months old, and his death at the family house on March 22 2014, causing him unnecessary suffering or injury.

That included leaving the tot for long periods in a dark room with no physical or mental stimulation, and failing to give him adequate food.

The accused used Calpol and medicine to drug the youngster to make him keep quiet, the court heard.

And they allegedly failed to get Liam medical help in the run-up to his death.

Prosecutors contend two other boys suffered a string of attacks and mistreatment between January 12 2012 and Liam’s murder.

Both children were allegedly banned from leaving a bedroom at night-time, forcing them to wet the bed as they couldn’t go to the toilet, while they were beaten if they failed to comply.

The youngsters were punished with lengthy cold showers for wetting beds, left under freezing water and told by the Fees to stand still if their bodies shook, the court heard.

Both were forced to sit or stand naked or in underwear on a step or chair – known to them as the ‘naughty step’ – for prolonged periods, the charges read.

The youngster the couple claimed killed Liam was forced to sit on a chair while naked or in underwear and write out the same sentence repeatedly on paper, the indictment said.

The women allegedly constructed a cage using a metal fire guard and pieces of wood, and the boy was locked inside.

They forced him to lie in the cage while naked during the day and sleep there overnight, the jury heard.

They allegedly bound his arms and legs to the cage with cable ties, string, or a dressing gown cord, placed household objects on him and struck him if they fell off, and put items including a chair on the cage to stop him escaping.

The trial heard the women would pour water on him to pretend he’d urinated, and force him to sit in the cage with his feet elevated from the floor.

They are charged with making him sleep in a cot with his arms and legs bound to it with belts or dressing gown cord. On one terrifying occasion they put a cage filled with rats on his head, the jury was told.

The Fees allegedly forced the boy to sleep in a drawer.

The charges contend the youngster was forced to his eat his own excrement after soiling himself. He was also allegedly made to eat dog excrement.

The jury was informed the boy was deprived of food as a punishment, given inadequate bed covers when it was cold, and called names by the accused.

The women are charged with failing to get him medical help when he injured his feet in January 2014, then stamping on his feet and squeezing them.

They are charged with assaulting the boy, including punching him and pressing their feet against his throat. They allegedly forced his head into a bath of cold water, and cut his private parts with a pair of scissors.

Prior to the arrival of police and paramedics at the home on March 22 2014, they are accused of seizing a boy’s hand and forcing it into Liam’s mouth after he was dead.

They allegedly compelled him to strike the other young boy in his privates with a shoe and a tube of cream, and to slap him if he moved from the ‘naughty step’.

Another boy in the charges also suffered two years of abuse between January 2012 and March 2014, including being beaten, according to the indictment.

He was told he’d murdered his own dad with a saw or similar implement, and was threatened that his private parts would be cut off with a saw, the court was told.

The women are accused of depriving him of food as a punishment, tying him to a chair, and forcing him to assault the other boy.