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6 July 2016, 10:26
A mother and her civil partner from Gateshead have been jailed for life for murdering her two year old son
Defenceless two-year-old Liam Fee died at his home near Glenrothes, Fife, on March 22nd, 2014 after suffering heart injuries similar to those found on road crash victims.
The pair subjected him to more than two years of abuse and neglect.
His mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 29, tried to pin the blame for the death on a young boy but were convicted of Liam's murder in May following a seven-week trial at the High Court in Livingston.
The pair - originally from Ryton, Gateshead - were also found guilty of a catalogue of horrific cruelty against two boys in their care, including the one they blamed for Liam's death.
Sitting at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Burns handed both women mandatory life sentences.
He ordered Trelfa to serve a minimum of 23-and-a-half years behind bars, while Fee must spend at least 24 years in prison before she can even be considered for release.
The pair displayed little emotion as their sentences were delivered, one after the other.
There was silence in the packed courtroom as the pair were led away to the cells.
Liam's father Joseph Johnson looked straight ahead as the women were told the punishment parts of their life sentences.
Lord Burns told the couple they had subjected the children to "a cruel and pitiless regime of ill treatment and neglect''.
The judge said
"In the case of Liam, that treatment included the assault which caused his death."
He added that the post-mortem examination showed the two-year-old had been "subjected to a prolonged course of violent behaviour''.