Man found guilty of killing toddler

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The Independent Online

A man has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend's young son.

Toddler Brandon Muir, from Dundee, died from a ruptured intestine after being assaulted by 23-year-old Robert Cunningham on March 15 last year.

Cunningham was accused of murder but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow returned a guilty verdict on a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

The trial heard from doctors at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee that Brandon's injury would have been caused by a "blunt force" and the child would have been in severe pain before he died.

Cunningham was convicted of killing the 23-month-old after being cleared of wilfully ill-treating him in the six months leading up to his death and ill-treating another young child during the same period.

The jury took one hour and 25 minutes to return the majority verdict of culpable homicide.

Judge John Morris deferred sentence until March 31 for background reports.

Brandon's mother Heather Boyd was acquitted last week of the culpable homicide of her son by failing to get him medical treatment after he fell ill.

The Dundee Children and Young Persons Protection Committee has commissioned an independent review of any potential issues for child protection services surrounding Brandon's death.

Alan Baird, director of social work at Dundee City Council, said: "If the inquiry puts forward proposals that could lead to an improvement in this or any other area, we will make sure they are fully implemented."