Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Mother weeps over boy's injuries

The jury was shown photographs of horrific injuries on the two-year-old's body

A mother accused of killing her son broke down in tears as a jury was told the boy had suffered about 40 injuries.

Heather Boyd, 23, wept as a pathologist described the bruises and scratches he found on the body of Brandon Muir.

The 23-month-old also had four cracked ribs, thought to be about three weeks old, and a ruptured intestine.

Ms Boyd denies the culpable homicide of her son by failing to get him medical treatment. Robert Cunningham denies murdering the boy in Dundee last March.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was shown photographs of Brandon's body at the post-mortem examination.

Consultant paediatric pathologist Dr Alan Howatson listed 36 external areas that were marked, some of which included more than one injury.

Heather Boyd
Heather Boyd started to cry as the injuries were described

The court heard that Brandon had bruises and cuts on his head, shoulder blades, abdomen, back, hands and abrasions on the inside of his eye.

The doctor said behind a "curved" area of bruising at the pelvis area were about eight abrasions.

He added that some marks may have happened during attempts to resuscitate Brandon when he was rushed to hospital.

The trial was adjourned for a time after Ms Boyd broke down during the evidence. A juror had also earlier become distressed while viewing the pictures of Brandon.

Prosecutor James Wolffe QC later asked Dr Howatson: "What would have caused the injuries to the ribs?"

Dr Howatson replied: "Only a force to the fracture site." He said he could not be certain if this happened at the same time Brandon's intestine was ruptured.

The doctor added: "All the injuries identified are consistent with blunt force trauma."

The trial had earlier heard that Brandon was pronounced dead at 0506 GMT on 16 March.

But, Dr Howatson agreed with Ms Boyd's QC Donald Findlay that it could not be stated exactly when the child actually died.

Mr Findlay also asked: "None of the bruises or abrasions were life threatening?"

The doctor replied: "Yes, that is correct."

Deny charges

Mr Cunningham, 23, 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.

Ms Boyd is accused of culpable homicide by failing to get him treatment after the alleged attacks.

The pair 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 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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