Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mother 'did not help ill toddler'

Brandon Muir
Brandon Muir died in hospital in Dundee on 16 March last year

A mother accused of killing her son repeatedly failed to get medical help for the sick child in the hours before he died, a court has heard.

The High Court in Glasgow was told that Brandon Muir was regularly sick and was looking "pure white" on 15 March.

The 23-month-old died in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee the next morning.

Robert Cunningham, 23, denies murdering Brandon. The boy's mother, Heather Boyd, also 23, denies culpable homicide by failing to get him treatment.

All three were at the Dundee flat of Mr Cunningham's sister, Ann Margaret, the night before Brandon died.

Miss Cunningham told the court: "Brandon was always a light colour, but this time he was pure white."

"He was sitting really quiet and, every so often, there was sick in his mouth. It was a dark colour."

The court heard that during that evening both Mr Cunningham and Ms Boyd went out separately before returning.

About half a dozen times Heather was asked about getting a doctor
Ann Margaret Cunningham
Witness

Miss Cunningham admitted that all the adults in her home that evening, apart from Ms Boyd, smoked cannabis.

Prosecutor James Wolffe QC asked: "Were you involved in attending to Brandon?"

She said: "He was tired, really tired. His temperature was fluctuating and he would be hot and cold."

Mr Wolffe asked: "Anything said about getting a doctor?"

Miss Cunningham replied: "About half a dozen times Heather was asked about getting a doctor. This was before and after she went out."

The prosecutor went on: "What about when Heather was not there?"

She told him: "Robert did not know about his details, we only knew his name basically.

Miss Cunningham said that when the couple left her flat, Ms Boyd claimed she would get help if "Brandon got worse."

In connection with getting help for Brandon, Ms Boyd's QC Donald Findlay asked her: "There was not enough concern for you to call for help or force your brother?"

Miss Cunningham replied: "No."

Murder and assault

Mr Cunningham is accused of murder by assaulting Brandon so severely last 15 March at two flats in Balunie Crescent that he died the following day in hospital.

Mr Cunningham and Ms Boyd also face a charge of repeatedly and wilfully ill-treating Brandon between October 2007 and March 2008.

Ms Boyd is accused of assaulting her son at Douglas Family Centre in Dundee on 5 March last year.

Mr Cunningham is also charged with repeatedly and wilfully ill-treating another young boy at two properties in Dundee between October 2007 and March 2008.

The pair deny all charges.

The trial, before Judge John Morris QC, continues.



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