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Liam Fee murder trial jury retires to consider verdict

Published 27/05/2016

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Jurors in the trial of a mother accused of murdering her two-year-old son with her civil partner have retired to consider their verdict.

Rachel Fee or Trelfa, 31, and 29-year-old Nyomi Fee have been on trial at the High Court in Livingston for the past seven weeks, where they deny murdering toddler Liam Fee.

Liam was found dead at a house near Glenrothes in Fife on March 22, 2014.

The pair say a young boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, was responsible for his injuries.

Jurors in the trial retired to begin their deliberations after judge Lord Burns finished giving them his legal directions - a process he began on Thursday.

The judge has previously told the jury to put any sympathy or prejudice aside as they consider their verdict in the "highly emotional" case.

He said there is a danger of feelings of prejudice or sympathy in the case, and that members of the jury "would be made out of granite" if they had not been moved by some of the evidence.

But the judge said: "You must act impartially and dispassionately."

On Friday, he summed up the position of both defence QCs, including that they say the Crown has not demonstrated that the women had a common plan, and that there is no direct evidence against either accused of any assault against Liam.

He said the defence had criticised the evidence-gathering process involving two young boys linked to the case and that one lawyer had described the prosecution case as one of "smoke and mirrors".

The judge said the defence also pointed to evidence which suggested that Liam was in general well cared for and provided for.

Lord Burns told the jurors they could return verdicts of guilty, not guilty or not proven to the charges - the latter two being verdicts of acquittal.

He said they were under no pressure and could take as long as they needed to reach their verdicts.

After speaking for about half an hour, the judge told the 14-strong panel: "I now formally invite you to begin your deliberations."

The women are accused of eight charges in total.

Both accused, originally of Ryton, Tyne and Wear, deny murdering Liam. They also deny attempting to defeat the ends of justice by falsely incriminating another boy for Liam's death.

They further deny a catalogue of allegations of harming and neglecting two young boys, including the one they blame, over more than two years.

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