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20 May 2016, 14:39
A mother accused of murdering her son admits her conduct had a part to play in his death.
Rachel Fee has admitted that if she had taken her son Liam Fee to hospital for treatment for a broken leg, he would be alive today.
The High Court in Livingston heard that despite suspecting he had had a broken leg for several days, she went to look after her horse for three hours on the day Liam died, which she said she now regretted.
Fee is on trial at the High Court in Livingston alongside her civil partner Nyomi Fee, who's 27, where they deny murdering the toddler at a house near Glenrothes in Fife by repeatedly inflicting 'blunt force trauma' to his head and body.
Questioned by her lawyer, Rachel Fee initially denied Liam's death was anything to do with her.
Brian McConnachie QC asked her for a second time 'Do you think his death has anything to do with your conduct?'
She replied: ''I should have got him help, so yes.''
She blames his death on a young boy who she said told her he 'strangled or suffocated' Liam.
Questioned by Mr McConnachie, she denied physically causing Liam injury.
He asked her: ''Did you come back from your three hours at the stables and assault him by striking him so hard you ruptured his heart?''
She replied: 'No, I did not.'
She also denied allegations of abusing two other boys, one of whom the couple are accused of falsely blaming for Liam's death, including accusations of keeping him in a cage and cutting him with scissors.
Mr McConnachie asked her: ''Why are they saying you did?'' She replied: ''I don't know.''
Fee became emotional on occasions when telling the court about the night Liam died.
She said her partner screamed for her to come to his bedroom where she was trying to get him out of his buggy, and saw he was 'all white'.
She said: ''I fell to the floor. I thought he wasn't breathing.''
Fee said when she saw the boy she is accused of falsely blaming for Liam's death he put his head down and she 'knew he had done something'.
She added: ''I was completely distraught and devastated. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know what to do. I had so many different emotions.''
Fee said she asked the boy what he had done and he said 'I did this', putting his hands to his mouth and throat.
She told the court: ''I said 'You've strangled him or suffocated him haven't you?'' and he said 'Yes'.''
She denied there was any delay between Liam being found and the ambulance being called, and said she was 'absolutely devastated' when paramedics told her he was dead.
She claimed the boy she is accused of falsely blaming for his death had shown sexualised behaviour for years and in the months before Liam died had began assaulting him sexually and physically, as well as another boy.
The court was shown a picture of the toddler's leg snapped in two and Fee said after discovering it she did not take him to hospital, and admitted searching on Google questions including ''How long can you live with a broken bone?'' and if wives could live together in prison.
Mr McConnachie asked Fee: ''How can it be that a mother of a two and half year old toddler who she thinks has a broken leg does nothing?''
She replied: ''Because I was still scared for getting into trouble and getting him taken off me.''
She added: ''At the time I wasn't thinking rationally. I know it was the wrong thing to do. I should of (got treatment), I completely should of. I was just so scared.''