Brandon Lee Muir
April 2, 2006 - March 16, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial

Once again, with ALL of the warning signs being completely obvious, a child was left to die at the hands of an abuser. It seems that so many of the children I research and add to this site, could have been saved if only someone would have stepped up and helped them, Brandon Muir was no exception to this rule, Brandon was only 23 months old.

Brandon's case was another that was known to agencies that are supposed to check children and protect them. Social Workers had been involved in his life for over a year and as early as four days before he was killed, Brandon had a scab by his eye as well as dried blood below his nose, of course his mother lied and said that had fallen out of bed and a Health Visitor was stupid enough to believe that, or maybe just could not be bothered to investigate further.

Heather Boyd, Brandon's mother, was a known prostitute and Heroin user and reports say that in cases such as this, a child is supposed to be put on what is called an "at risk" register. Robert Cunningham, her boyfriend, was a monster in more ways than one and a former girlfriend had reported him for abusing Brandon. It seems that there were many other people, who would only come out to say it AFTER Brandon died, were aware of the abuse he was going through, but couldn't be bothered to help save his life. Brandon suffered torture and pain of an unimaginable kind in the weeks before he died and the last 24 hours were the worst. Brandon's case is being compared to that of Peter Connelly, the boy from England who died a horrific death and in fact Brandon is often called "The Peter Connelly of Scotland".

Reports say that Social Workers knew that Robert had a bad history of violence and had beat on his ex-girlfriend many times as well as another young child. Even with the knowledge of this monster's past, Social Workers left this precious little gift from God to fend for himself at the hands of a known abuser. A Child Care Lecturer was upset and said that Brandon had been let down by the system:

"If the mother was a drug user, then the child would be at risk. I would be very concerned
to hear that children were not being placed on the at-risk register. We really need some
answers, this child slipped under the radar. We're tired of reading about these awful cases,
Baby P, Victoria Climbi and Caleb Ness. Each time, we're told that lessons will be learned.
Yet again, why has this boy been allowed to die"
Sandra Brown

Brandon's death was caused by a ruptured intestine and several broken ribs and in fact, Brandon had over 40 injuries on his little body when an autopsy was done. Brandon had cuts and bruises over his entire body, for three weeks this child had been battered by Robert who left injuries on his little head, shoulder blades, abdomen, back, hands and abrasions in the inside of one his eyes. Police said that Robert had moved in and immediately started beating on Brandon:

"Social work was definitely involved, as were Health. They have records of Cunningham and
Boyd and they knew about Cunningham's ex. But there was significant stuff that has come out
that hadn't been reported. Witnesses aidsaid they saw Brandon Muir being assaulted, ill treated. The
bottom line is this: should you expect social work, health to go find these things out? Maybe there
is a case to say yes, they should, but surely there has got to be some responsibility for other people,
friends, neighbors, relatives, to step up to the mark"
Police Spokesman

It seems everyone wants the children to be protected, but no one is willing to call the right people to get that protection:

"I saw him slapping Brandon, heaving him by the arm and basically throwing him, like a dolly"
Joanne Dunn - A Former Care Assistant

Well, Joanne, why didn't you call someone to get help for this little boy? As far as I am concerned, YOU have some of Brandon's blood on YOUR hands and so does ANYONE else who saw the abuse and ignored it!

Someone cared about Brandon, that was his grandmother, Veronica Boyd who called Social Services in February of 2008 and let them know that something wasn't right and they were not happy with Heather being with Robert, still, nothing was done. Neighbors reported that they had heard screaming from the adults in the home, towards Brandon who was living in an apartment that had only one bed which had no pillows or sheets on it. Sinead McLaughin, a Health Visitor, had visited the home on March 12 and though she noted that there was a lack of interaction between Brandon and his mother, she also noted that his health and weight seemed to be "satisfactory".

The Dundee Children And Young Persons Protection Committee was not answering questions about the visits that were made to the home, giving only a few small details. People known as the "Campaigners" stated that the Social Workers SHOULD have noticed that sign of abuse:

"This little boy was tragically let down by the very people who should have had his best
interests at heart. In almost ever case where an abused or neglected child dies, it emerges
friends or neighbors were concerned but or various reasons did not act. We need to find
a way to increase public confidence so that when a person senses that something is amiss
they  know what to do and who to talk to"
Anne Houston - Chief Executive - Charity 1st

"This case highlights critical issues around child protection and also around the physical
punishment of children. Child Protection Services across Scotland are seriously under
Kathleen Marshall - Commissioner For Children And Young People

"This case was nothing less than horrific. This boy was failed systematically, by his parents and
by society as a whole"
Liz Smith - Scottish Tories' Education Spokeswoman

"The whole of Scotland is shocked and saddened after the death of Brandon Muir. No
sentence will ever make up for the death of a child"
Richard Baker - Labour's Justice Spokesman

"When we carried out this inquiry, we uncovered a lot of information from people. If they had
shared that with Social Workers, potentially we would not have had a trial"
Willie Semple - Chief Inspector

The popular opinion was that if OTHERS had come forward, Brandon would not have died. While I agree that not enough people come forward BEFORE children die, it was known by Social Workers that this child was in trouble and for whatever reason, they allowed him to be abused, tortured and eventually killed.

Robert Cunningham was known to many as a coward and a thug, with a history of abusing children as well as sexually attacking women. People who knew him, said that Robert was always picking on anyone who appeared to be weaker than him, especially children who could not fight back. In a sense, Robert NEVER picked on anyone his own size. A friend told of a time when Robert had been in an argument with a neighbor and when it was over, Robert was in tears as he walked around the friends home:

"It's not like the guy hit him that hard, but he was a wimp when it came to fighting with
anyone his own size"

Robert had been seen seen throwing a toddler into a cot so hard, that it broke as well as blowing into the face of a newborn baby saying that it was funny to watch the baby struggle to catch its breath after he stopped. That same baby was the victim of Robert yelling directly into its face because Robert didn't like the sound of the baby crying and he called another child "ba****d so often that the child thought it was his name, that child covers his ears at the sound of a loud noise or if anyone is talking loud, that is a result of what Robert did to him.

Friends came from all around to tell their stories of the way Robert abused children, one said that he had hit a child and when the child screamed, he threw him against a table, saying Robert would lose it and it was horrible. Another child who only touched a couch was made to sit on the floor with his hands in his lap for three hours and if he moved, Robert would scream at him. WHY DIDN'T ANY OF THESE PEOPLE HELP THESE CHILDREN BY CALLING SOCIAL SERVICES!?!

In Court, Robert's ex-girlfriend said that she had been upset with him and they argued over the way he treated children. He would slap a child he felt had been "bad", scream at them, cuss, put them in their rooms or make them sit against a wall for long periods of time. If the children cried, he would call them crybabies. In 2005, Robert met his match in a teen aged girl who accused him of rape. At the age of 18, he had been in an apartment with the girl when he grabbed her and forced her to have sex with him. Robert didn't show up for court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. When he was finally found, Robert faced a jury who decided that the offense of rape was not proven, though skipping out on bail was and he was sentenced to six months. Robert would be arrested several times for other offenses over the years including breaking into homes, he was well known with the Police:

"Cunningham is well known to our officers. He has been for some time and he is never far
from trouble. He has a significant Heroin addiction and his housebreaking in 2006 was
undoubtedly to fund his habit. We're pretty sure he's been involved in a fair amount of minor
criminality across Dundee over the last few years to help him acquire drugs. We've also come
across him during various domestic disputes but nothing severe enough to warrant us taking
further action"
Police Source

It turned out that some of Robert's beating victims were afraid of him and would not press charges. Nikita Bowman, his ex-girlfriend, said he scared her so bad, terrorized her and beat her quite often, he punched and kicked her and held her down by her throat:

"I was scared what he would do to me. He would just lose the plot and hit me. I was really
frightened of him. He was evil"

Nikita said that one night she had to jump out of window to get away from him when he pinned her down to the floor by her neck:

"I don't even know what started it but he just went nuts. I thought he was going to kill me"

Nikita's sister said that Robert had made passes at her and when she told him he was a disgusting pig, he told her he would wait until she went to sleep and then get at her. Cheyanne said that she hated him, he was evil and she was not shocked to know that he had killed Brandon, she hoped he would rot him Hell.

On March 15, the day before he died, Brandon was alone with Robert when Heather left to go ot the store. Robert claims that Brandon climbed up on a window ledge and as punishment, he slapped his hand and made him stand against the wall as punishment. Heather said that when she got home, Brandon appeared to be sick. Medical Personnel said that Brandon died as a result of a "massive blow" to his stomach which has ruptured his duodenum

Robert Cunningham, who was 23 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with killing Brandon. Robert of course denied it. The testimony about how evil he was never seemed to stop, in court. Witness after witness had a story to tell. Robert was not convicted of a crime that would keep him in prison for life, where he belonged. Instead, Robert was convicted of culpable homicide. Jurors only too an hour and 25 minutes to come back with their verdict after the 20 day trial:

"Robert's been done with culpable homicide, which is five to ten years and if he gets five years,
he'll be out in a year and a bit. Brandon's life was worth more than that"
John Muir - Brandon's father

I agree with John. The value of the life of a child seems to be nothing in the eyes of the law. In 2009, Robert was sentenced to the DISGUSTINGLY short sentence of only ten years for what he did to this little Angel. Heather was not convicted of ANYTHING relating to the death of Brandon, that's sickening to me!

In January of 2013, word got out that Robert, who was by now 27 years old, could soon be free, people were not happy about it:

"What he got was just a nonsense. He should have got life. I think a life for a life is fair.
Brandon would have been in primary school now. For Cunningham to get out would be
just ridiculous"
Allan Petrie - RealJustice4Brandon

Allan though that if Robert were to return to to Dundee, it could be dangerous for him:

"I would ask people not to be violent towards him. But I think it's quite possible that somebody
could recognize him and react without thinking. I think he should be kept away from Dundee and
kept away from children"

A Parole Board Spokesman said that a parole board could refuse parole for any prisoner who was considered dangerous and that if parole is refused to Robert, he would come before the Parole Board ever 12 months until he had reached the mandatory time he had to serve.

In 2013, the Scottish Government announced that they were going to do away with the early release program, though it would not affect anyone already in prison, the new ruling would not allow early release in the future of anyone sentenced for ten years or more. This new law was due in part to the case of Brandon Lee Muir and what he went through.

I was totally saddened and disgusted all at the same time to read that in June of 2014, it was reported that Robert would be given automatic early release having served only two thirds of his ten year sentence. Robert's time in jail had been counted towards his sentence and in October of 2014, he would be expected to be released from prison. John Muir said:

"I just have hated for that guy so it would not be a good thing if I ever see him
walking the streets"

Death occurred in Scotland
This page was created on July 27, 2014

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