Police treating death at Broxburn child-care unit as suspicious

Strathbrock Family Unit in Broxburn, West Lothian. Picture; SWNS
Strathbrock Family Unit in Broxburn, West Lothian. Picture; SWNS

The death of a baby girl at a homelessness unit near Edinburgh last month is now being treated as “suspicious”.

The detective who led the investigation into the murder of Fife toddler Liam Fee has been drafted in to take charge of the inquiry into the death of three-month-old Sophia Williams.

Strathbrock Family Unit in Broxburn, West Lothian. Picture; SWNS

Strathbrock Family Unit in Broxburn, West Lothian. Picture; SWNS

She lost her fight for life almost a week after she was found unconscious at the Strathbrock family ­support centre in Broxburn, West Lothian. Her death was initially treated as unexplained, but it is understood that further tests have now established that her injuries were not caused by an accident.

Detective Inspector Rory Hamilton – who helped bring Rachel Trelfa and Nyomi Fee to justice for killing two-year-old Liam Fee – said: “We are now treating the death of Sophia Williams as suspicious.

“Our investigation continues as we work towards establishing the full set of circumstances that led to Sophia’s death and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Sophia was found unconscious on Monday, 30 May and was rushed to St John’s Hospital in Livingston by ambulance. She was then transferred to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, before finally succumbing to her injuries on Sunday 5 June.

Speaking at the time, police confirmed that the infant had had a physical injury rather than an illness, and Police Scotland has now launched an investigation to establish what happened.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “A police investigation is currently ongoing and it is not appropriate to comment at this stage.”

The incident comes four years after calls were made for an urgent inquiry into the standards of care at the Broxburn facility after a baby suffered 21 rib fractures and broken knees while staying with his parents.

The infant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was staying at the unit with his family and was on the child protection register when the injuries occurred.

Doctors who examined the infant said “significant force” would have been needed to cause the fractures, which were discovered when the child was admitted to hospital.

When a doctor examined the injured youngster, he found that some of his ribs had been broken for so long that they had already started to heal.

A 32-year-old man – who blamed the baby’s mother for his injuries – was cleared on a not proven verdict in 2012.

Liam’s mother, Trelfa, 31, and her partner Fee, 29, were convicted after a trial of killing the two-year-old at home in Thornton, Fife, in March 2014 and abusing two boys of seven.

Trelfa was jailed for a minimum of 23-and-a-half years and Fee for at least 24 years at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.