A MOTHER and her partner yesterday denied murdering her two-year-old son and blaming his death on a seven-year-old boy.
Rachael Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, who are also charged with ill-treating and neglecting two young boys over a two-year period, appeared in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.
They both denied the murder and neglect charges and trial was set for April 4 next year at the High Court in Livingston by judge Lady Rae.
Brian McConnachie QC, representing Rachael Fee, who is also known as Rachael Trelfa, and Mark Stewart QC, representing Nyomi Fee, both tendered not guilty pleas on their client’s behalf.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, said: “The duration of the trial is likely to be eight weeks, though it is difficult to be precise in a case of this nature.”
The women, who are in a civil partnership, deny murdering two-year-old Liam Johnson – also known as Liam Fee – by repeatedly inflicting blunt force trauma to his head and body by unknown means at 21 Donald Crescent, Thornton, Fife, on various occasions between March 15 and 22, 2014.
They also pleaded not guilty to attempting to defeat the end of justice by telling a 999 operator, ambulance personnel, police, friends and family members that a seven-year-old boy was responsible for the boy’s death.
It is also alleged that on various occasions between January 2012 and March 2014 they failed to provide Liam with adequate exercise or physical and mental stimulation by leaving him in his pushchair for prolonged periods, putting a blanket over his face and tape socks to his hands, and leaving him in a darkened room.
It is also claimed they failed to provide him with enough food and gave him medicine intended for another child and Calpol in order to keep him quiet and make him sleep.
The two women, who now live in Ryton, Tyne and Wear, also deny harming two young boys from January 2012 to March 2014.
It is alleged that the pair compelled one of the boys to stand naked under a cold shower as a punishment for wetting the bed, then pushed him and told him to stand still if his body shook.
The Crown also claim that they locked him in a cage they built using a metal fire guard and wood for prolonged periods during the day and night.
It is alleged that the couple bound the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to the cage with cable ties, string, the cord from a dressing gown, placed items on him and struck him if the objects fell off, poured water over him and pretended he had urinated and on occasions force him to sit with his feet raised from the ground and refused to let him put them down.
Both women deny all the charges against them. They are on bail.