Killer mother gets 11-year term
A mother who killed her three-year-old son, dumped his body in a suitcase and claimed that he was missing has been jailed for 11 years.
Mikaeel Kular, a "healthy, happy little boy", died two days after being beaten repeatedly by Rosdeep Adekoya following a family day-out in January.
After discovering his lifeless body on the floor of their Edinburgh home in Ferry Gait Crescent, she put it in the suitcase and drove about 25 miles to Kirkcaldy, Fife, to hide it in woodland behind her sister's house.
Adekoya dialled 999 to report him missing to police, sparking a major two-day search operation involving the emergency services and hundreds of local people who volunteered to help.
In reality, she had beaten him so badly that when his body was found it had more than 40 separate injuries.
Adekoya, 34, was initially charged with murder but last month pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of culpable homicide and a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard she had a history of depression and had attempted suicide in 2001.
Passing sentence, judge Lord Glennie said he accepted that Adekoya's remorse is "genuine and heartfelt".
But he said 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."
Adekoya wiped away tears throughout much of the hearing.
The court heard previously 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. 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.
Over the next few days Mikaeel's condition worsened and he became ''listless'' but his mother did not take him to a doctor because of the bruising.
After discovering her son's body, Adekoya put it in a suitcase which she left in woodland behind her sister's house in Dunvegan Avenue, Kirkcaldy, covering it with branches.
Mobile telephone masts recorded her journey across the Forth Road Bridge, undermining her statements to police about her whereabouts. She eventually broke down and took officers to his body.
The final cause of death was found to be blunt force abdominal trauma.
Adekoya's internet history showed searches including ''I find it hard to love my son'' and ''Why am I so aggressive with my son''.
Defence QC Brian McConnachie argued there were several mitigating factors in the case.
He told the judge: "There is no sentence your lordship can impose in this case which will be deemed sufficient by what appears to be an ill-informed mob who are no doubt at this moment waiting to express their outrage and indignation."
He pointed to various events in Adekoya's past, including the death of her father when she was aged around 17 and spoke of her difficulties adjusting to life as, ultimately, the mother of five children.
He pointed to her difficulties forming an emotional attachment to Mikaeel, adding: "One of the things that Mrs Adekoya has never been good at doing is seeking help."
The lawyer attributed her actions immediately following the death of her son to "panic" and an inability to comprehend what she had done.
Lord Glennie told Adekoya: "There is no history of violence by you towards any of your children. That makes it all the more difficult to understand your actions. I do not suppose that you really understand why you did what you did."
The judge also pointed to the search for Mikaeel, involving the police, fire service, coastguard, mountain rescue teams, air support and the public, describing her pretence that Mikaeel had gone missing as a "serious matter".
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "During the long period of time since Mikaeel went missing and today, there's been a large amount of work ongoing in the local community to make sure that the strong community spirit that came together - unfortunately under such terrible circumstances - is captured and built upon.
"A huge number of people came out looking to find Mikaeel and do what they could to help, and that was hugely beneficial to managing such a large-scale operation."