Fife murder accused claimed ‘another boy had killed toddler’

It is alleged that Liam was murdered in March 2014. Picture: contributed

It is alleged that Liam was murdered in March 2014. Picture: contributed

A JURY has heard an account of the moment toddler Liam Fee was found dead at a house in Fife.

Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering Trelfa’s two-year-old son in March 2014.

The women also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over a period of more than two years.

The pair are accused of falsely telling others, including police, that one of the other young boys was responsible for Liam’s death.

On day two of the trial at the High Court in Livingston, the jury heard evidence from 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 on March 22, the day Liam died.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC read the statement to the court.

It 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.”

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Ms Fee said her daughter told her a 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 murder charge alleges that the couple assaulted Liam at a house in Fife on various occasions between March 15 and March 22, 2014.

Trelfa and Fee repeatedly inflicted “blunt force trauma to his head and body” causing injuries so severe that he died on March 22 that year, it is claimed.

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.

Ms Fee told the court the phone call was received at around 8.50pm, after two earlier calls that evening during which they had discussed plans for her daughter to visit her.

She said Fee had told her not to tell anyone about Liam’s death and “just to keep it in the family”.

The witness said her daughter, who she said had once studied childcare at Newcastle College but did not complete the course, had entered into a civil partnership with Trelfa in June 2012.

Ms Fee said she had visited the couple around once a month after they had moved from the north east of England to Scotland.

Under cross-examination, Brian McConnachie QC, representing Trelfa, asked her view of the house the couple lived in. She replied: “It was kept perfect.”

Mr McConnachie asked whether she felt the couple were “in any sense harsh” on Liam.

“No, not at all,” she said.

She continued: “Every time I went up he was running around. He was a normal little boy.”

But she said Liam had changed in the months before he turned two.

“He wouldn’t talk any more,” she said. “He used to say nana but he wouldn’t speak to me.

“He had a blanket and he was sort of trying to hide himself all the time. He didn’t want to be seen. He hid his face.”

The witness said Trelfa and Fee thought Liam might have autism and took him to the doctor.

The charges of ill-treatment against the other two young boys include allegations that one had a cage filled with rats put on his head, while the other was tied naked to a chair in a room where rats, snakes and a boa constrictor were kept.

Ms Fee said the pets were kept in “special containers with little names on” and that she would not have gone into the house if they had not been properly contained.

The court earlier heard from Trelfa’s mother Gail Trelfa, 55, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, who broke down in tears as she told the jury she had not spoken to her daughter since Easter 2012.

She said she had loved Liam “very dearly”, and added: “I’ve lost my daughter and I’ve lost my grandchild. Thank-you Nyomi.”

Mrs Trelfa said she had previously been “very close” with her daughter, who she said had been a “very good mother”.