Toddler Liam Fee suffered heart injuries similar to those found on road crash victims after a “blunt force” trauma , a court has heard.
Dr Paul French carried out a post-mortem examination on the two-year-old, whose mother and her partner are accused of murdering him.
He told the jury that “similar heart injuries” have been found in road traffic accident victims and he detailed more than 30 external injuries he found on the toddler’s body.
The specialist paediatric pathologist recorded the cause of death as blunt force injury to his torso, jurors were told. He was giving evidence on day three of the trial of Liam’s mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, who deny murdering the toddler at a house in Fife in March 2014.
Dr French said he found fractures to the boy’s upper arm and thigh which were then analysed by a bone expert who said the child had sustained “two fracturing events”.
These were three to five days previously and less than six hours before his death, he told the High Court in Livingston.
Going through the external injuries using a computer-generated model of a child, Dr French told jurors most of them were “in keeping with blunt force trauma”.
These included an abrasion and laceration to the back of the head, bruises on his shin and thigh and external injuries to the genital area, but he did not record any injuries to the boy’s neck. He added that not all the bruises could be described as “the rough and tumble” of a toddler.
Dr French, 38, told the jury that when he examined Liam’s body, he found 70ml of blood in the pericardial sac around the heart, which he described as a “significant volume”.
Asked what impact that would have, he replied: “It would stop it working properly and cause death.”
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, asked: “Does that cause rapid death?” “Yes,” the witness replied.
Dr French also said that during the post-mortem at Glasgow’s Southern General hospital, he noted the toddler as having a low body weight for his age.
He said his weight had been lower at death than it had been recorded eight months previously.
The trial continues.