Nursery Staff Recorded Injuries On Toddler Liam Fee
4 May 2016, 16:37
A nursery manager has told a murder trial that staff recorded a number of injuries on toddler Liam Fee during the three months he attended.
Kimberly Trail said the two-year-old started at the private facility in Fife in March 2013 and seemed a "happy wee boy'' who played well with other children.
But staff were noticing bruises and he seemed to lose weight before he was removed 12 weeks later after the nursery contacted social workers, she said.
Ms Trail was giving evidence at the High Court in Livingston where Liam's mother Rachel Trelfa, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny murdering the toddler in March 2014 and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.
A series of photographs taken by nursery staff of Liam, who attended two days a week, showing him playing with toys, on a slide and reading books were shown to the court.
Ms Trail, 36, said in her opinion the photos revealed that over a period of time Liam's skin had grown paler, he had bags under his eyes and he had lost weight.
Jurors were also shown a number of diagrams nursery staff used to record injuries on the toddler.
One from April 8 showed bruising to his bottom, which staff noted his mother said came from Liam "nipping himself''.
Ms Trail said it was at this point that his mother had raised the issue that Liam could have had autism and the nursery then sent two members of staff on special training to support him.
Other diagrams recorded a swollen lip, bruising to his ears and nails, and in early June social services had been contacted. The two women then removed him from the nursery, the court heard.
The jury has already been told Liam had attended a childminder before he was registered with the nursery.
Patricia Smith, 37, a woman who had used the same childminder, also gave evidence on Wednesday.
She told the court about an occasion when she saw the two accused outside a shop in Kirkcaldy with Liam in his buggy months after he had stopped going to the childminder.
"I peered into the buggy to see Liam and I noticed he had a blanket over his head and I apologised and said I didn't realise he was sleeping. Rachel said he was awake and at that point I felt something was wrong.''
Asked by advocate depute Alex Prentice, prosecuting, what that was, she replied: "The stillness. There was something deathly about it. He was too still to be sleeping. It was very strange.''
She said she told a colleague that she was with that "something was not right'' and added: "I felt sick.''
Mr Prentice asked: "What was upsetting you?''
"I didn't know if he was drugged or dead,'' she replied.
She said when she returned to her office she then phoned social work.
The court earlier heard from social worker Karen Pedder, a team manager with child protection at Fife Council.
She spoke about a meeting held to discuss Liam after concerns were raised by the childminder about an injury.
Ms Pedder, 45, said a "plausible'' explanation had been given and there was no criminal action taken. The case was not looked at again until there was a contact made by the nursery, she said.
During this investigation, a social worker was told Liam had been pinching himself and the opinion had been that the marks "did not look like adult marks'', she added.