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Social worker admits Liam Fee dropped 'off the radar'

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  • Social worker admits Liam Fee dropped 'off the radar'

    A senior social worker has admitted that toddler Liam Fee was allowed to drop "off the radar" of her department.

    The High Court in Livingston heard that the child's family had no social work involvement for four months after their case worker went off sick.
    Rachel Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 28, are accused of murdering two-year-old Liam in March 2014 at a house near Glenrothes, Fife, and ill-treating two other boys.
    They deny all the charges against them.
    Karen Pedder, 45, a manager with Fife Council, told the High Court in Livingston that a case worker was assigned to the case in January 2013, after they received reports from the toddler's nursery that he had numerous injuries.
    A police officer and a social worker visited the family and accepted the "plausible explanation" from Rachel and Nyomi Fee that the youngster had bumped his head.
    But when the official concerned went off sick on 1 April 2013, nobody else was assigned to monitor the family.
    Medical opinion

    The court was told there was no further social work involvement until fresh concerns were raised about the child in June 2013.
    She said a childminder claimed that Liam had been pinching himself and general concern was expressed about his development and speech delays
    She said: "Again there was call to the social work contact centre from the Sunshine Nursery, which Liam attended. Again we had another interagency referral discussion.
    "Again concerns were raised about Liam having numerous bruising to his body. The outcome was to seek medical opinion on Liam's injuries.
    "The view of police and social work was they they didn't look like adult marks but there were concerns given the history."
    She added: "We know where normal childhood bruising occurs. This was a different kind of bruising."
    She said the combination of factors all caused concern, including one previous investigation, lack of seeking medical attention and social workers who visited the house reporting that Liam was in high chair in front of the TV eating lots of processed food.
    'Happy boy'

    Rachel Fee's defence counsel Brian McConnachie said to her: "What seems to have happened here is basically, as far as Liam is concerned, this case just went off the radar."
    She replied: "It did. Yes."
    She stressed that a case would normally be reviewed after about four weeks but she agreed that from April to June the interval was longer.
    Mr McConnachie said: "On one view, who knows when the case would have been looked at again if other information had not come forward?"
    Miss Pedder told him: "That's a procedural thing we should consider. We should look at the cases more regularly."
    The jury were shown photographs of Liam playing at the Sunshine Nursery in Kirkcaldy.
    Kimberly Trail, the former manager of the private facility, said the photographs showed how he had lost weight and become pale over a period of a few months.
    Nursery concerns

    She said she and her staff catalogued a series of injuries to Liam's ears and fingers, a black eye and bruises to his body over the weeks he attended the nursery.
    She related one incident when Liam was not happy to see his mum arrive to collect him.
    She said: "When Liam saw Rachel the look on Liam's face was quite frightening."
    On another occasion she said Nyomi Fee approached the nursery "really angry" after a call from a health visitor following up concerns raised by the nursery staff.
    After a discussion she removed Liam from the nursery.
    Rachel Fee and Nyomi Fee, who are originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, are accused of murdering Liam in March 2014 and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by blaming the killing on a young boy.
    The couple are also charged with a catalogue of allegations that they neglected Liam and abused two other children, one of whom they blame for killing Liam, in their care over a two-year period.
    They deny all the charges against them.
    The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

  • #2
    Thank god, these animals have been found guilty, hope they get severe sentences, the social work should be held to account, they seriously let this child down, his death may have been prevented had they intervened, after all various agencies raised concerns


    • #3
      Can't imagine the suffering that child endured, social work should be ashamed, hope the two of them get life, shouldn't be released ever


      • #4
        Mother Rachel Fee and her partner Nyomi have been found guilty of murdering Rachel's two-year-old son Liam in Fife.
        The couple were convicted of assaulting and killing the young child at his home in Thornton in March 2014. They had blamed another boy for the murder.
        They were also convicted of a catalogue of abuse against two other children.
        The jury returned a majority verdict after a seven-week trial at the High Court in Livingston. The couple are due to be sentenced on 6 July.
        The jury found that Rachel and Nyomi Fee had subjected the toddler to an escalating pattern of cruelty during his short life.
        The couple, originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, remained impassive as the jury found them guilty of all the charges against them.
        Liam Fee's father, Joseph Johnson, was in tears at the verdict and had to be consoled by friends.
        The jury were excused from duty for 10 years.

        In the days before his death, Liam suffered a broken leg and arm. He was killed by a blow to his abdomen which was so severe that it ruptured his heart.
        In total, he was found to have more than 30 injuries.
        The couple had blamed another boy for Liam's death. However, during several interviews with specially-trained officers and a social worker, it became clear that the boy had not strangled or suffocated Liam.
        He had put his hand over the toddler's mouth several days before his death but Liam had been walking and talking afterwards.
        Makeshift cage

        But the jury found Nyomi and Rachel to be jointly responsible for Liam's murder.
        In addition, they subjected two other boys to a series of physical and psychological abuse over two years - including forcing one to sleep in a makeshift cage and another to sleep in a room with rats and snakes which they said "ate little boys".
        Social services had been alerted to the Fees but had failed to take any action.

        His nursery had alerted social services, worried by a change in Liam, and the fact that he was losing weight and had a number of injuries.
        Liam's childminder had also made her concerns known.
        A senior Fife social worker admitted to the court that at one point Liam "fell off their radar".
        Fife Child Protection Committee is to carry out a significant case review.
        Elaine Torrance, the president of Social Work Scotland, said such cases were "exceptional".
        "Liam's death is an absolute tragedy and the level of cruelty that Liam experienced was deeply shocking," she said.
        "What makes it worse is that the abuse was carried out by the very people Liam should have been able to trust the most: his mum and his step-mum."

        Det Insp Rory Hamilton, of Police Scotland, said: "During joint interviews with specially-trained detectives and officials from Fife Council, the evidence began to build towards a picture of horrendous abuse which directly contributed to the version of events being put forward by the two accused being utterly discredited.
        "This was a complex, challenging and sensitive investigation which involved interviewing two young children to establish the level of abuse and neglect both they and Liam Fee had been subjected to.
        "It was because of their courage that detectives were able to identify Rachel and Nyomi Fee as being responsible for a wide range of serious offences against three children."
        Sean Catherall, a former friend of the Fees, gave evidence at the trial.
        He said he had lost touch with the couple after the abuse started and had not been aware of what was going on.
        "Words cannot describe how much I actually physically hate them now. They've wrecked so many people's lives," he said.
        "I didn't think in a million years she [Nyomi] was capable of any of that stuff, especially towards a baby - it kills us every day."