Court Told 'Phones Used To Research Broken Bones'

13 May 2016, 16:21

Mobile phones belonging to two women accused of murdering a toddler were used to carry out internet searches on subjects such as "How do you die of a broken hip'' and "How long can you live with a broken bone?'', a jury has heard.

Nyomi Fee and Rachel Trelfa's devices were used to run the Google searches on March 19, 2014, three days before two-year-old Liam Fee was found dead at a house in Fife, a murder trial was told.

Trelfa's phone was also used to ask the search engine on another occasion: "Can wives be in prison together?,'' the jury heard.

And a message from Fee's phone to Trelfa's mobile stated: "Kids should be drowned at birth to save problems, lol.''

The searches and messages were read out to the court by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC during the evidence of Evita O'Malley, a major crime analyst with Police Scotland.

She was the final witness to give evidence for the Crown in the case against Trelfa, 31, and Fee, 28, at the High Court in Livingston.

The civil partners deny murdering toddler Liam - who died on March 22, 2014 - and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.

The pair - originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear - also plead not guilty to a string of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other boys over a period of more than two years.

Ms O'Malley, 38, told how she analysed the phones after they were surrendered to police by the accused.

The court heard how Fee's phone had been used to search for the term "broken leg'' on March 17, 2014.

Two days later, searches were made on the mobile for terms such as "how do you die of a broken hip?'', "how to prevent blood clots'', and "broken hip in baby''.

Internet searches were also made under the terms "will a hip fracture heal on its own'' and "hip brace for toddlers,'' jurors were told.

On March 20 and 21 2014, questions asked during internet searches on the same phone included "can you refuse to be treated by a certain doctor?'' and "can social services gain access to my house?'', jurors were told.

Analysis of Trelfa's phone showed it was used to carry out a Google search on March 18 that year for: "How long can a broken leg take to heal?''

The following day, it searched online for: "How long can you live with a broken bone?'' This internet search returned a web page entitled "Can you die from a broken bone?'', jurors heard.

By March 21, the day before Liam died, a search was carried out on the device for "Can wives be in prison together?'', while another asked: "Can lesbians who are married hot (correct) to jail together?''

The murder trial also heard about messages sent between the two devices.

One from Fee's phone to Trelfa's stated: "Another few days and he'll crack without sleep and we'll be able to make progress.''

Another stated: "Bit lip, scratched eye, a bruise while he walked in door yesterday when I was on phone to you, lol. We knew it would bruise, it had to, lol. It's Liam now, graze on forehead and nose looks mighty fine, ha ha.''

Questioned by defence QC Brian McConnachie, for Trelfa, the witness agreed that the pair had handed over the phones to the police at the first opportunity when they were questioned as witnesses.

The Crown has now formally closed its case.

Mark Stewart QC, defending Fee, told the court some legal matters now require to be discussed.

The jury in the trial, being held before judge Lord Burns, will return to court on Tuesday.