Mother and her partner convicted of murdering son
Published 01/06/2016 | 02:30
A MOTHER and her civil partner have been convicted of murdering her two-year-old son.
Toddler Liam Fee was found dead at his home near Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland, on March 22, 2014, having suffered a ruptured heart as a result of severe blunt force trauma to his body.
His mother, Rachel Trelfa, also known as Rachel Fee (31), and her partner Nyomi Fee (29) had denied killing the child. However, they were convicted of his murder following a seven-week trial at the High Court in Livingston.
The women, originally of Ryton, Tyne and Wear, were also found guilty of a catalogue of abuse against two other young boys, including one they falsely blamed for Liam's death.
The couple were convicted of all eight charges they faced, with a majority verdict returned on the murder charge after around 10 hours of deliberation by the jury.
In addition to the murder charge, they were found guilty of assaulting Liam over a period of more than two years prior to his death.
They were also convicted of ill-treating and neglecting him from January 2012 onwards by leaving him for prolonged periods of time, failing to provide him with adequate exercise and mental stimulation and - in the days leading up to his death - failing to get him proper medical attention for a broken leg and a fractured arm.
The jury also convicted them of four charges detailing a string of abuses against two other boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
These included forcing the youngsters 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.
The women were further found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice after Liam died by, among other things, trying to pin the blame for the death on one of the young boys.
The women showed little emotion as the two verdicts were returned.
Liam's father Joseph Johnson was in tears as he left the court.
During seven weeks of deeply distressing evidence, the court heard that Liam suffered heart injuries similar to those found in road crash victims after a severe blunt force trauma to his chest and abdomen.
The pathologist who examined him also found more than 30 external injuries on the toddler's body and fractures to the boy's upper arm and thigh. Several members of the jury were reduced to tears when a police video showing the toddler's body was viewed by the court.
Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC told the court the women were guilty of "unyielding, heartless cruelty".
The Fees had shown "callous indifference" to Liam's suffering and had covered up his injuries, he said.
The Crown insisted it didn't matter which woman struck the blow that killed Liam because they had a common criminal purpose and were joined together in "a course of violent and cruel treatment towards the children".