Local residents’ speak of deep shock over death of Liam

Tributes are paid to Liam on the church railings
Tributes are paid to Liam on the church railings
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A week on from the verdict that found a mother and her partner guilty of the abuse and murder of toddler Liam Fee, the close-knit community that knew them is slowly coming to terms with the horrors that lead to such a tragic and appalling case.

The dozens of coloured ribbons tied to the church fence are the only visible sign of acknowledgement and grief within the village.

But the sense of shock and bewilderment that such a crime could be committed here, is still palpable.

“People are talking about it, we are still shaking our heads in disbelief, two years on from the boy’s death,” said Jane Yeaman, a neighbour.

“The court case and verdict and all the sorry details have just added a new sense of deep shock to everyone living in this community,” she added.

“I only ever remember seeing the little boy once, in a push chair covered in a blanket, which did seem odd.

“But you just don’t expect anything like this to take place in your street.”

Rachel Trelfa or Fee and her partner Nyomi Fee were found guilty at the High Court in Livingston last Tuesday on all eight charges they faced including the murder of the two-year-old, as well as the assault and neglect of the youngster and the abuse of two other boys, in a catalogue of cruelty that is hard to imagine.

They were also guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice by blaming Liam’s death on another child.

“The toddler was never given a chance, such cruelty is unbelievable, it will take a long time to come to terms with everything that has come to light in the trial,” said another neighbour, who asked not to be identified.

“But there is a sense from others in the street that justice has been served on the two that committed such abuse.”

And she added that there was now a hope that the sentencing, which takes place on July 6, will reflect such a heinous crime and allow the community some closure.

At such a distressing time, people inevitably turn to each other for support and the local parish church has stepped up to offer the community a focus for its grief.

“The loss of a child is always sad, but the loss of a child in such distressing circumstances is a tragedy that affects the whole community,” Rev Carolann Erskine said.

“Our community today is feeling tremendous shock, anger, distress and disappointment. We are deeply saddened by the death of little Liam.”

The church has opened its doors on a number of evenings to allow those seeking an outlet for their sadness and for quiet contemplation, an opportunity to do so.

“Through the love and compassion we feel for Liam, we are comforting one another with kindness at this difficult time,” added Rev Erskine.

“Our heartfelt prayers go out to Liam’s family and friends, to the professionals who knew him and to everyone involved with Liam’s case.”

The church’s role in helping people come to terms with Liam’s death had been welcomed.

“Many customers, whether church goers or not, have praised their position within the community at this time, said Fiona Allen, proprietor of Serendipi-Tea tearoom.

“The death of the boy is all people are talking about. I’ve only been here a year and it’s a nice village, people are friendly. It’s such numbness that such a thing could happen here.”