THE mother of Mikaeel Kular has been sentenced to 11 years in jail over the “cruel and inexcusable” death of the son with whom she failed to form a maternal bond.
Rosdeep Adekoya, 34, was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday after earlier admitting the culpable homicide of the toddler and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding his body.
Yesterday, it emerged three-year-old Mikaeel had spent long periods in the care of his aunt, a situation the court was told had caused Adekoya not to form the same relationship with her son as she had with her four other children.
A huge police search was launched in January when Mikaeel was reported missing from the home he shared with his family in Edinburgh.
Hundreds of members of the public joined the effort, but Mikaeel was already dead.
His mother had “lost her temper” when he was repeatedly sick following a trip to a Nando’s restaurant at Edinburgh’s Fountain Park.
Adekoya repeatedly beat her son before putting his lifeless body in a suitcase and leaving it in woodland behind her sister’s home in Kirkcaldy.
Defence QC Brian McConnachie told the court that Adekoya was a “daddy’s girl” who had been badly affected by the death of her father in her teens and had battled depression, even attempting to take her own life following the breakdown of a relationship in 2001.
The court had earlier heard how 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”.
Yesterday, Mr McConnachie said Adekoya had struggled to look after her five children, including Mikaeel and his twin sister.
Adekoya’s relationship with the twins’ father, Zahid Saeed, had been “fraught with difficulties” and was “destined to end in failure”.
Mr Saeed had only limited contact with his children, and the support Adekoya received from her mother was “non-existent”. Mr McConnachie said Adekoya’s sister, Pandeep, who now looks after Mikaeel’s twin, had become a surrogate mother to Mikaeel.
He said: “Circumstances were difficult – [Adekoya] had five children and support from her mother was non-existent.”
Mr McConnachie said Adekoya’s sister looked after Mikaeel and Adekoya looked after his twin sister.
He added: “Mikaeel formed a much closer bond with his aunt than his mother.
“Perhaps more importantly, Mrs Adekoya did not form that bond.”
Adekoya sat calmly throughout yesterday’s hearing, but dabbed her eyes with a tissue when the court heard details of how she had taken her son’s body to Fife after his death.
Passing sentence, judge Lord Glennie said he accepted that Adekoya’s remorse was “genuine and heartfelt”, but that what she did was “cruel and inexcusable”.
“Striking a child even once is bad enough,” he said. “Striking him heavily and repeatedly with hand and fist when he was being sick again and again simply beggars belief.
“Mikaeel was by all accounts a healthy, happy little boy. By your actions, however unintended, you have not only robbed Mikaeel of his young life but left a gaping hole in the lives of all who loved him.”
The judge said the “normal bond between mother and child” had “simply failed to develop”.
“The reasons are complex, and relate in part to the time when the children were being well cared for by foster carers and the help you needed from your sister when taking them back into your care,” he said.
“This helps explain the internet searches which you conducted between September 2013 and January 2014.
“You clearly recognised the lack of a close maternal bond with Mikaeel, to the extent of searching on the internet for some understanding of why you did not love him in the same way as you loved your other children and of why you always felt angry with him.
“You clearly needed help, but did not know how to ask for it.”