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25 July 2014, 13:23
The mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has pleaded guilty to killing her son.
Rosdeep Adekoya, 34, was charged with murdering the toddler but admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh today.
A major search was launched after the boy was reported missing from his Edinburgh home in January.
His body was later found around 25 miles away in woodland at Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Adekoya, a prisoner at Cornton Vale jail near Stirling, admitted assaulting and killing Mikaeel at the family's flat in Ferry Gait Crescent and hiding his body in woodland in Fife.
She pleaded guilty to attempting to defeat the ends of justice by pretending to police he had gone missing, sparking the search by the emergency services and members of the public.
Adekoya admitted repeatedly punching her son and causing his body to hit against a hard object or inflicting blunt injuries on his head and body between January 12 and 15.
She admitted wrapping Mikaeel's body in a duvet cover, putting it in a suitcase and driving to Dunvegan Avenue in Kirkcaldy, Fife, where she hid the case under a bush in woods behind a house.
She had called 999 to report her son missing to police, telling officers he got out of bed and climbed on a stool to unlock the front door of his home.
She admitted causing a major search for her son, involving police, the fire service, coastguard, mountain rescue crews and members of the public.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice told the court: "The basis for the plea tendered being accepted is that the Crown accepts that the accused had no intention to kill Mikaeel and that the assault perpetrated upon him, although severe, fell short if the wicked recklessness required for murder.''
Adekoya's internet history showed searches including "I find it hard to love my son'', "I love all of my children except one'', "Why am I so aggressive with my son'' and "Get rid of bruises''.
The court heard that Mikaeel died on the night of Tuesday January 14 from injuries inflicted the previous Sunday.
His mother "lost her temper'' when he was repeatedly sick following a trip to a Nando's restaurant at the city's Fountain Park.
She smacked him and struck him on the body and head with a clenched fist, the court heard.
When Mikaeel was sick for a third time, she dragged him to the shower by his arms and "beat him heavily'' on his back as he lay over the bath edge.
Mr Prentice said: "It's likely that the internal damage was inflicted during this last beating.''
Over the next few days Mikaeel's condition worsened and he was kept off nursery. He was assaulted again on the Monday after being sick and became "listless''.
His mother did not take him to a doctor because of the bruising, the court heard.
By Tuesday night, Mikaeel was said to be "quiet'' and was giving a "limited'' response to his mother's questions.
Mr Prentice said: "He would have been in significant pain but was put to bed.
"The pain would have increased significantly while Mikaeel became dangerously ill and finally dying as a result of the injuries inflicted upon him by the accused.
"It was during that night that he died.
"The accused discovered his body on the floor when wakening the children in the morning.''
After discovering her son's body, Adekoya took his twin sister to nursery before driving straight to Fife.
Mr Prentice said: "At the time, it appears that the accused had placed Mikaeel's body in a suitcase and put him in the boot of her car.''
Masts captured her mobile phone travelling from Edinburgh across the Forth Road Bridge.
Sentence was deferred until August 25 at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Adekoya dabbed her eyes repeatedly with tissues as the narrative of her crimes was read to the court.
She waited until 7.15am on Thursday January 16 to dial 999 and report her son missing.
Officers who attended the flat reported that she initially appeared "very upset and distressed''.
But inconsistencies began to appear in her account of events to police, who by the Friday evening "suspected that all was not as she had indicated''.
During a police interview she broke down and told officers: "It was an accident and I panicked. I am going to go to the jail.''
She was asked where Mikaeel was and replied: "In the woods behind my sister's house.''
Adekoya then took police to her son's body in the woods, telling them he was "to the left under trees in a suitcase'' which she had covered with branches.
Mr Prentice said: "Detective Sergeant Phil Richards undid the straps of the suitcase and opened the camouflage material within which was the body of Mikaeel Kular, who was quite clearly dead.''
The final cause of death was found to be "blunt force abdominal trauma''.
Mikaeel had more than 40 separate injuries to his body, including bruises to his back, chin and cheek, trauma to the brain, haemorrhage in the spinal cord and injuries to his arms.
Mr Prentice said: "If medical assistance had been called for death might not have resulted.''
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, Major Crime and Public Protection, said: "Mikaeel's disappearance and death deeply impacted on his family. It also resonated across the community in which he lived.
"During the initial stages of the inquiry we appealed for information about Mikaeel's whereabouts as concern for him grew. The local community assisted us greatly in that search.
"What followed was an incredible level of support and assistance to one of the biggest missing person inquiries Police Scotland has undertaken.
"Resources from across Police Scotland were deployed in the search for Mikaeel. These resources included specialist investigative and search support to local officers from Edinburgh and neighbouring divisions. Over two days officers were joined by members of the public in trying to find any trace of him.
"Sadly our inquiries led us to Kirkcaldy the night after he was reported missing and the discovery of his body.
"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the public for all of their help during the search efforts and the continued support provided to police and Mikaeel's family during the course of this investigation.''
Defence QC Brian McConnachie described the case as a "truly tragic'' one, "above all else for Mikaeel Kular in his loss of life at such an early age''.
He also pointed to the tragedy faced by the boy's father and the "extraordinarily difficult'' time for the family of the accused.
They, he said, are having to come to terms with their grief and the fact that Adekoya caused the death.
The lawyer also described the case as a tragedy for Adekoya herself, telling the court: "Rosdeep Adekoya is not a monster.''
"It would appear she has been a young mother with a number of underlying problems, which the court will hear about in due course, with five young children.''
He went on: "It seems that there has been an accumulation of circumstances which have caused Rosdeep Adekoya to act towards Mikaeel over a relatively short period of time, less than 24 hours, in a manner she has never acted in the past towards him, or to any of her other children...
"It appears from every source... that this has been a brief period when this young woman has lost her temper and behaved in a way which is totally out of character for her.''
He said she faces consequences of her actions which she "will have to live with for the rest of her life''.
Mr McConnachie said Adekoya initially tried to act as if nothing had happened and had panicked.
The QC said that, from now until the next court hearing, the defence would still be investigating "psychological aspects of this case as far as Mrs Adekoya is concerned.''
Following the hearing, Mikaeel's father left the court without making any comment.
Neighbour Paul Cairns, 46, who was involved in the search for Mikaeel, said he did not know the accused at all.
"She was really quiet, she stayed opposite us,'' he said.
"We used to just see the wee boy sitting up at the window, playing with his toys.''
He went on: "The whole community came together (to search) and then to be told that he had been killed... There would be a lot of angry people out there. I know that I'm one of them.
"The wee lad never had a chance to start off with. I think the kids should have been kept away from her (Adekoya).''
His daughter, Shannon Cairns, 17, said she felt sickened by the events.
"It's horrible. There's no words to describe how I feel,'' she said.
The teenager told how she searched parks, fields and woods for the young boy.
Of Adekoya, she said: "She could still have got help. There's no reason not to have got help.''