HMA v Nyomi Fee and Rachel Fee

In the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Burns sentenced Nyomi and Rachel Fee to life imprisonment with punishment parts of 24 years and 23 years, six months respectively after they were found guilty of murder.

6 July 2016

On sentencing, Lord Burns made the following statement in court:

"Each of you had responsibility for the care and welfare of the 3 young children with whom this case was concerned. You both grossly abused those responsibilities and subjected them to a cruel and pitiless regime of ill treatment and neglect while in your joint care. In the case of Liam that ill-treatment included the assault which caused his death and for which the jury convicted you of his murder.

From the way in which the older boys appeared in the interviews which occurred in the immediate aftermath of the events of 22 March 2014 they were obviously and profoundly damaged by your treatment of them. It cannot be known what permanent damage has been inflicted but it is a tribute to the care they have had since that date that they now appear to have substantially recovered. 

In respect of Liam it was plain from the evidence of those independent carers who looked after him and from the Post Mortem examination that he had been subjected to a prolonged course of violent behaviour which caused him appalling suffering both physically and mentally and ultimately caused his death at the age of 2 ½. 

All the offences of which you were convicted are aggravated by the breach of the responsibilities which you shared and by the age and vulnerability of the children. Other than accepting guilt for the neglect of Liam in the week prior to his death, you have shown no remorse for your actions.

Neither of you have any previous convictions and I sentence you having due regard to that factor. 

Nyomi Fee

On charge 7, the charge of the murder of Liam, you are sentenced to life imprisonment. For the purposes of retribution and deterrence, I am required to fix the punishment part of that sentence. That period will be 24 years. I take account, in selecting that period, of the other offences of which you were found guilty and I have increased the punishment part from 21 years. Those offences of ill treatment and assault against all three children and the charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, are in themselves serious and require an increase to the punishment part imposed in respect of the murder charge. I have limited the increase to the period attributable to retribution and deterrence in respect of those other charges. 

This does not mean that you will be released automatically at the end of that period; it simply means that until that period has elapsed you cannot ask to be considered for parole. Even after the period comes to an end, your date of release (if any) will depend on the view that the Parole Board take of the risks to public safety which you pose when it considers your case.

I also require to sentence you on the other charges of which you were found guilty.

On each of charges 1 and 3 the sentence is one of 7 years imprisonment.

On charge 2, 4 years

On charge 4, 2 years

On charge 5, 6 years

On charge 6, 6 years and

On charge 8, 2 years. 

Those sentences will run concurrently with each other and with that on charge 7 and all sentences are backdated to 20 May 2016. 

Rachel Fee

On charge 7 you are sentenced to life imprisonment. There is no basis on which I can distinguish between you on the verdict of the jury on charge 7.   I fix the punishment part at 23 ½ years to take account of the jury’s verdict on charge 2 which was different to that returned on your co-accused.

I also require in your case to impose sentence on the remaining charges. 

On each of charges 1 and 3 the sentence is one of 7 years imprisonment

On charge 2, 3 years and 9 months

On charge 4, 2 years

On charge 5 6 years

On charge 6, 6 years and

On charge 8, 2 years.

These sentences will run concurrently with each other and with that on charge 7 and all sentences are backdated to 20 May 2016."