Childminder 'Feared Someone Was Hurting Toddler'
3 May 2016, 14:22
A childminder has told a court she alerted a care watchdog as she feared "somebody was hurting'' a toddler two women are accused of murdering.
Heather Farmer, 48, broke down in tears as she said she was so worried about Liam Fee that she could not sleep.
Ms Farmer said she started looking after the youngster at her home in Fife when he was 11 months old in July 2012 and kept a work diary which showed he was walking, talking, interacting with other children, singing and playing with toys.
She said he initially seemed a "happy and content'' youngster but this changed and she became concerned about the amount of bruises he had and noted he was "withdrawn''.
She told the High Court in Livingston: "After Christmas I noticed a big change in Liam. He was very quiet. He didn't want to interact with other children. He seemed sad.''
The childminder noted bruises to his legs and back on different occasions in 2012 and contacted the Scottish Childminding Association (SCA) in January 2013 after he turned up with scratches and bruises to his face, days after arriving with a bruised forehead and legs which his mother Rachel Trelfa, also known as Rachel Fee, told her was from falling out his cot.
Ms Farmer said: "I thought something wasn't right. I thought somebody was hurting Liam.''
The court heard a note of the phone conversation she had with the Care Inspectorate, which the SCA had advised her to call.
It said: "Heather stated that she had observed a number of injuries over a period of time.
"Last week he had a black eye and bad bruising on his forehead. His mum said he must have fallen when climbing out of the travel cot and she found him asleep on the floor.
"Heather is concerned that his mum had not heard him fall. She is not certain that there is anything sinister about his injuries but at the very least she is concerned he might not be properly supervised.
"She said that she was not sleeping because she was worried.''
Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering two-year-old Liam at a house in Fife on March 22 2014 and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.
The murder charge alleges the couple assaulted Liam on various occasions between March 15 and March 22, 2014.
Trelfa and Fee also deny a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys and are further accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
They deny all the charges.