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.”
‘I find it hard to love my son’
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.
Boy’s disappearance ‘shocked and united’ Edinburgh
The disappearance and death of Mikaeel Kular shocked and united the people of Edinburgh in equal measure.
Few had any sense of the tragedy that was about to unfold when news first emerged that a three-year-old boy was missing from his home in the city.
Mikaeel’s mother was said to be “distraught” as a major ground, air and sea search was launched for her son around the family’s flat in Ferry Gait Crescent in the Drylaw area.
Rosdeep Adekoya had told police the toddler was last seen going to bed at about 9pm on Wednesday, January 15.
She claimed he was missing when she and her four other children - including Mikaeel’s twin sister - woke the following day at 7.15am.
Early theories ranged from the possibility the youngster had left on his own accord, to speculation about potential custody issues involving the boy’s father.
Inundated by offers of help from worried neighbours, police began to form search parties to comb the area, with hundreds turning up to volunteer.
Many were parents themselves, eager to help in a situation described by one as “every mum’s worst nightmare”.
The volunteers joined hundreds of officers in the hunt, alongside coastguard and lifeboat teams, helicopters, search dogs and the emergency services.
But as the second day of the search wore on with no confirmed sightings, the sense of unease surrounding the circumstances of Mikaeel’s disappearance began to grow.
It emerged that he had not been seen at his nursery since the Christmas break because he had been ill.
Later that evening officers leading the investigation said publicly they were exploring the possibility he had been the victim of a criminal act.
In the early hours of Saturday everyone’s worst fears were confirmed - Mikaeel’s body had been found in Fife shortly before midnight and a person had been detained.
That person was soon revealed to be Adekoya, who would by the end of the day be arrested and charged over the death of her son.
Police sealed off a house in Kirkcaldy’s Dunvegan Avenue belonging to Mikaeel’s aunt, Adekoya’s sister.
Later that day the toddler’s body was removed from woodland behind the house, where neighbours said Adekoya had once lived.
Around 25 miles away across the Firth of Forth, residents who had helped to search for the youngster expressed their shock and sadness.
Hundreds attended a memorial service held at the city’s Muirhouse St Andrew’s Church, while flowers, soft toys and candles piled up near the family’s home.
Crowds also turned out to remember Mikaeel during vigils at Cramond Beach in Edinburgh and Pathhead Sands in Fife - two communities divided by water but united by the tragedy of his death.