The jury in the trial of two women accused of murdering a toddler has been urged to find them guilty of “unyielding, heartless cruelty”.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said Rachel Fee or Trelfa and her civil partner Nyomi Fee had shown “callous indifference” to the suffering of Trelfa’s two-year old son Liam Fee and had “covered up” his injuries.
If you suspect your toddler has a broken leg you get help, and if you don’t then clearly a serious question has to be asked as to why you haven’t done thatAlex Prentice QC
The women deny murdering Liam at a house near Glenrothes in Fife by repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to his head and body, as well as ill-treating two other young boys in their care, one of whom they blame for the toddler’s death on 22 March, 2014.
In his closing speech to jurors, Mr Prentice said that while the case was circumstantial, there was “clear and compelling” evidence against the two women, including that given by the two other young boys in a series of video interviews shown to the jury.
He said: “If you stand back and look at all that, it would entitle you to then consider that there has been an overall course of criminal conduct and it is that the accused together embarked upon a course of violent and cruel treatment towards the children.”
Mr Prentice said there had been an “escalation of violence” towards Liam leading up to his death.
He said the couple’s failure to get help for the toddler when they knew he had serious injuries, including a broken leg and fractured arm, in the days leading up to his death was evidence of “art and part guilt” or a “common criminal purpose”.
Mr Prentice said: “This had become an unyielding, heartless cruelty and it’s difficult to describe it in any other way.”
The jury has heard evidence that a phone belonging to one of the women was used to make Google searches including “How do you die of a broken hip?” in the days before Liam’s death.
He told the jury: “Why would you hesitate to think what you would do, you would call for help. There’s just nothing else a decent human being would do.
“There’s nothing else you would do as a caring mother or caring parent.
“If you suspect your toddler has a broken leg you get help, and if you don’t then clearly a serious question has to be asked as to why you haven’t done that.”
Mr Prentice said the actions of the two women demonstrated “callous indifference to the suffering of Liam” and that the claim made by the accused that they did not act because they were scared that the child would be taken from them made “no sense whatsoever”.
He said: “It’s a cover up, they accept it’s a cover up.”