Liam Fee murder: 'There is a greater fascination if the killer is female' says criminology professor

Liam Fee murder: 'There is a greater fascination if the killer is female' says criminology professor

A female killer is seen as being doubly deviant, says Professor Wilson

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A prominent criminology professor has claimed on talkRADIO that there is a greater cultural fascination with female killers because "crime is generally a man's business". 

Mother Rachel Fee and her partner Nyomi were found guilty at the High Court in Livingston, Scotland, on Tuesday of the murder of two-year-old Liam Fee. 

The toddler died from a ruptured heart in March 2014 as the result of a severe blow to the abdomen and repeated blows to the chest. A coroner listed more than 30 wounds, including a broken arm and leg. 

The couple were also found to have abused two other children in their care. 

Public horror saw the court case become very high profile, with particular interest focussed on the lesbian couple convicted of his murder. 

David Wilson, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, said that the killers' sex played a big part in sparking that interest. 

"There is a greater fascination if the killer is female as opposed to male," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"The woman is seen as being doubly deviant because she's not only breaking the law, but also [challenging] gender assumptions as to how a woman should behave. 

"Crime, generally, is a man's business, rather than a woman's business."

Whatever the gender of the killers, Professor Wilson added that there is never an excuse for murdering children. 

"I never shy away from using the word 'evil'," he said. "When we find out about these women, we'll discover stories of the abuse they suffered - but for me, it's never enough. 

"There are people who will have suffered equal, if not worse, abuse while growing up who would never dream of behaving in this way towards a child of their own."

The professor also condemned the failings of social services for missing opportunities to help Liam. 

"There were opportunities to stop it," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

"The recruitment, training, paying, and valuing of social workers is key so they can intervene in situations like this."