Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mother cleared over Brandon death

Heather Boyd was cleared at the High Court in Glasgow

A mother accused of killing her 23-month-old son by failing to seek medical help for him has been cleared of the charges against her.

Heather Boyd, 23, had faced charges of culpable homicide and assault following the death of Brandon Muir last March.

The toddler died at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after suffering a ruptured intestine and four broken ribs.

Ms Boyd's boyfriend Robert Cunningham, 23, remains on trial at the High Court in Glasgow. He denies a murder charge.

Ms Boyd, from Monifieth, near Dundee, was accused of not helping her son following an alleged assault by Mr Cunningham on 15 March.

However, following legal argument, Judge John Morris ruled that she had no case to answer in relation to the death.

I acquitted her of the charges that related to her. You can put your pen through her name in the charges that relate to her
Judge John Morris
Charges that she repeatedly and wilfully ill-treated Brandon were withdrawn, while she was acquitted of assaulting him at the Douglas family centre in Dundee 11 days before he died.

Jurors returning to the court after being sent out for legal arguments, were told by Judge Morris: "You will notice that Heather Boyd is no longer with us.

"After hearing submissions, I acquitted her of the charges that related to her. You can put your pen through her name in the charges that relate to her."

Mr Cunningham's QC Ian Duguid suggested that he may call Ms Boyd as a witness.

Two flats

He told the court: "Due to the events that have been detailed, this gives rise to a situation that Heather Boyd is available as a witness.

"I have had some opportunity meantime in conducting part of that process. She is also, of course, available to the Crown."

Mr Cunningham, 23, is accused of murder by assaulting Brandon so severely on 15 March last year at two flats in Balunie Crescent that he died the following day in hospital.

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

He is also accused of repeatedly and wilfully ill-treating another young boy at properties in Dundee between October 2007 and March 2008.

He denies the charges.

The trial continues.

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