The head of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Scotland has warned that as many as 9,000 children in Scotland are at risk and suffering abuse and neglect similar to that endured by Liam Fee before he was murdered.

Of that figure, as many as 8,000 vulnerable children may not have come to the attention of the authorities - who could step in and prevent the maltreatment.

On Tuesday, Liam Fee’s mother Rachel and her partner Nyomi were convicted of subjecting the two-year-old to an escalating pattern of cruelty before killing him at his home in Thornton, Fife, in March 2014. They were also found guilty of a catalogue of abuse against two other children.

The head of the NSPCC in Scotland, Matt Forde, said he had been left “utterly shocked” and “outraged” by the case.

“Liam’s short life was marked by the most horrendous abuse and neglect, carried out the very people who were supposed to keep him safe,” Forde said. “The suffering he experienced is difficult to comprehend.”

He added: "A child dying at the hands of their parents or carers is a rare occurrence in Scotland. Neglect, however, is less so. Over a thousand children were placed on the child protection register in Scotland last year due to concerns about neglect or emotional abuse.

"There are more children suffering abuse or neglect than those who are known to social workers. We estimate that for every child subject to a child protection plan or register...another eight have suffered maltreatment. These children are not visible. How can we help those children living unhappy lives in circumstances which do not meet thresholds for formal intervention?"

Forde insisted “wider lessons must be learned” from Liam Fee’s death following the announcement that Fife Child Protection Committee has begun a Significant Case Review to look at what went wrong.

When Liam Fee died in March 2014, former Fife Police officer John Myles was chairman of the influential committee.

Myles was also head of the committee in January 2014 when three-year-old Mikaeel Kular was killed by his mother while under the supervision of Fife social workers.

Then, in April 2014, two-year-old Madison Horn was murdered in her home in Kelty, Fife, by her mother’s former boyfriend.

Myles, who stood down as chairman of Fife Child Protection Committee in December 2014, announced a Significant Case Review after Kevin Park was convicted of killing Horn in November 2014.

“We would hope to conclude the review early Spring 2015,” Myles said at the time – however the findings have yet to be released.

A Significant Case Review of Kular’s death found that it could not have been predicted,

The Sunday Herald visited Myles’ home in Fife to give him the opportunity to discuss child protection in Fife but he refused to comment.

The current chairman of Fife Child Protection Committee, another former Fife Police officer, Alan Small, also declined an opportunity to speak to the Sunday Herald.

All meetings of the committee are minuted and “are considered to be public documents” according to the committee’s official website.

However, minutes for the period when Myles was chairman are not available online and a spokeswoman for Fife Council said they can only be obtained by making a request in writing.

Vice chairman of Fife Child Protection Committee, Dougie Dunlop, said a significant case review into the circumstances leading up to Liam Fee’s death has been commissioned.

He added: “We want to provide reassurance that this independent review will be thorough and comprehensive.”