Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Liam Fee: Whistleblower had 'gut wrenching' feeling

Nyomi (left) and Rachel Fee murdered two-year-old Liam
Image caption Nyomi (left) and Rachel Fee murdered two-year-old Liam

A woman who lived near the family of murdered toddler Liam Fee has told how she contacted social services after getting a "gut wrenching" feeling something was wrong with the boy.

Patricia Smith, 37, said she felt the call had served little purpose.

On Tuesday Rachel Fee and her partner Nyomi were found guilty of murdering Rachel's two-year-old son Liam in Fife.

The couple were convicted of assaulting and killing the young child at his home in Thornton in March 2014.

They had blamed another boy for the murder.

Image caption Patricia Smith said she felt the call had served little purpose
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGary Robertson spoke to Patricia Smith about reporting concerns about the health of Liam

Ms Smith, an office administrator, was one of several witnesses who raised concerns about two-year-old Liam before he was murdered.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland she described how she contacted social services after getting a "gut wrenching" feeling that something was wrong.

She described how she had never seen anything like it before and knew she had to raise her concerns.

Ms Smith explained said: "I had passed them in the street. I noticed he [Liam] was lying flat in the buggy. He had a blanket over his head and the mother told me he wasn't sleeping, he was actually awake.

"At that point that's when alarm bells started ringing. She then went on to state he had autism, again this was something that couldn't be right because I knew the little boy.

"It was then that I got this gut-wrenching feeling and decided to speak to my line manager [at work] and call child protection services."

Image caption The community of Thornton in Fife has been paying tribute to Liam Fee by tying ribbons to church railings in memory of the two-year-old

She went on to say that she thought she had known what a gut wrenching feeling felt like "until that day".

Ms Smith added: "That's the only way I can explain how bad I felt at the time."

However, after contacting social services she felt she should not have bothered as they had suggested everyone had different parenting skills.

Mrs Smith said: "They told me that they would send a health visitor round, but the feeling I got after that call was that I shouldn't have bothered.

"I personally felt like they were maybe getting quite a few calls about them and this one was just another one on the list that was creating them more work.

"I know obviously that social workers do a great job, but I came away from that call thinking that I shouldn't have bothered."

A significant case review has begun.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites