Friday, 25 July 2014

Could Mikaeel's death have been prevented? Social services took three-year-old into emergency care after mother left him home alone to go clubbing... but handed him back just months before she punched him to death

Social workers put a three-year-old boy into care twice but then returned him to his mother just five months before she battered him to death, it has been revealed.
Child protection officers have launched a full investigation after the mother of Mikaeel Kular admitted killing him, putting his body in a suitcase and hiding it in a bush in a case which shocked Britain.
Today it emerged social services were in regular contact with Rosdeep Adekoya - and even put her son into foster care twice, including after she left her five children home alone to go on a night out.
Killing: Rosdeep Adekoya admitted responsibility for the death of three-year-old son Mikaeel KularKilling: Rosdeep Adekoya has admitted responsibility for the death of her three-year-old son Mikaeel Kular (pictured)
Killing: Rosdeep Adekoya (left) admitted responsibility for the death of three-year-old son Mikaeel Kular (right)

Horror: The mother'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'. He died in January
Horror: The mother'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'. He died in January

The incident happened in June 2012 and all five of the 34-year-old mother's children were taken away from her care.
Her three eldest were placed with their father while Mikaeel and his twin sister, who had a different father, went into a long-term foster placement.
Although they had regular contact with their mother, they remained in the placement for more than a year, Edinburgh's High Court heard.
But social workers returned Mikaeel and his sister to their mother's care in August last year - just five months before she brutally beat him to death, leaving him with 40 injuries.
Social workers were still in contact with Adekoya, who had a history of mental illness, a month before her son died.
Today, as she pleaded guilty to his killing, a full review was launched between police, Fife and Edinburgh councils, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, Fife and Lothian and Borders NHS, and the Fife Child Protection Committee .
Committee chairman John Myles said: 'The joint Chief Officers Group of Fife and City of Edinburgh has decided to conduct a significant case review following the tragic death of Mikaeel Kular. 
'The review will be led independently and will take place in two phases. The first phase will look at information available from files, records, and policies and procedures that were in place before Mikaeel’s death.
Mikaeel (pictured) was buried in a suitcase behind the house where his mother was said to have once livedMikaeel was buried in a suitcase behind the house where his mother (pictured) was said to have once lived
Mikaeel (left) was buried in a suitcase behind the house in Kirkcaldy where his mother (right) once lived

Shock: Adekoya initially reported the boy missing, prompting a massive search with hundreds of volunteers
Shock: Adekoya initially reported the boy missing, prompting a massive search with hundreds of volunteers
'Work on this phase has already started. Phase two will take into account any new information that has come to light during the criminal proceedings and will involve interviews with relevant staff. We are aiming to announce the findings by December.'
Mikaeel's disappearance sparked a vast search involving hundreds of volunteers when he vanished from his Edinburgh home in January.
His mother reported him missing to police - but in fact she had 'lost her temper' four days earlier and beat him brutally when he was sick following a trip to a Nando's restaurant.
He was left with more than 40 wounds and bruises including devastating internal injuries, which killed him two days after the beating - but she had not taken him to a doctor because of his bruises.
She wrapped his body in a duvet cover, put it in a suitcase and hid it in a bush behind her sister's house 25 miles away.

Adekoya had been charged with murdering the toddler but admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide - similar to manslaughter under Scots law - at the High Court in Edinburgh today.
Resting place: The small patch of land in Kirkcaldy where the suitcase containing the toddler's body was found
Resting place: The small patch of land in Kirkcaldy where the suitcase containing the toddler's body was found

Car: The black Vauxhall used by Rosdeep Adekoya to drive 25 miles from her home with her toddler's body
Car: The black Vauxhall used by Rosdeep Adekoya to drive 25 miles from her home with her toddler's body
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, who is being held at Cornton Vale jail near Stirling, admitted assaulting and killing Mikaeel at the family’s flat in Edinburgh and hiding his body in woodland.
She also 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.

She 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.
Adekoya 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.
But her 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.
Killing: Adekoya only dialled 999 two days later
Killing: Adekoya only dialled 999 two days later

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.
Advocate depute Alex 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.
Mr Prentice said that on Tuesday night the boy became unresponsive.
'He would have been in significant pain but was put to bed,' he said. '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 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.
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 - two days after Mikaeel's death - to dial 999 and report her son missing.
Officers who attended the flat reported that she initially appeared 'very upset and distressed'.
Tragic case: Adekoya dabbed her eyes repeatedly with tissues as the narrative of her crimes was read out
Tragic case: Adekoya dabbed her eyes repeatedly with tissues as the narrative of her crimes was read out


But inconsistencies began to appear in her account 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.'


'The pain would have increased significantly while Mikaeel became dangerously ill and finally dying as a result of the injuries inflicted upon him'
- Advocate depute Alex Prentice

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, a 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.'
Adekoya also admitted causing a major search for her son, involving police, the fire service, coastguard, mountain rescue crews and hundreds of members of the public who combed the Scottish countryside.

MOTHER HAD FIVE CHILDREN, WAS WELL-KNOWN TO SOCIAL SERVICES AND HAD LONG-STANDING PROBLEMS WITH HER MENTAL HEALTH

Rosdeep Adekoya has three children aged nine, seven and six by her husband Omotoso Adekoya - from whom she is separated but not divorced.
On separating from her husband, Adekoya, who grew up in Fife, moved from their home in Edinburgh, to the house in Kirkcaldy where her son's body was ultimately discovered.
It is owned by her mother and stepfather Harjinder and Bangerpat Krishnaswamy, and she and the children stayed there with her sister Pandeep Kular.
Long-standing problems: The court heard Adekoya was probably suffering from a depressive episode
Long-standing problems: The court heard Adekoya was probably suffering from a depressive episode

Adekoya became pregnant with Mikaeel and his twin sister, now four, after beginning a relationship with Zahid Saeed, a childhood friend.
The court heard she threatened to take her own life after Saeed, who had a long-term partner, ended the affair.
Adekoya suffered from long-standing mental health problems, including depression, stress and anxiety, and had struggled to come to terms with the death of her father in front of her when she was 16, the court heard.
Doctors concluded that she was suffering from a 'mild to moderate' depressive disorder at the time of her son's death but was not unfit to stand trial.
Social services became involved before the birth of the twins as their mother intended to have them adopted. They were placed in foster care aged three days old, but Adekoya quickly changed her mind about the adoption.
The court heard social services continued to 'keep an eye' on the family.
In May 2012 Adekoya's attitude to looking after the children is said to have changed.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice said: 'She started going out often in Edinburgh with her friends, drinking to excess.
'She put pressure on her mother and sister to look after the children while she was out, who often refused.'
Adekoya began asking her 14-year-old nephew to look after the children overnight, the court heard.
Her mother contacted social services on at least two occasions in May 2012 as a result.
In July 2012 Fife social services were alerted that she had left all the children at home in Dunvegan Avenue without proper supervision to go on a night out with friends in Edinburgh.
The older children were taken in by their father while the twins were placed in emergency foster care.
They remained in the St Andrews area on a long-term foster placement and had regular contact with their mother.
They returned home to live with her in August 2013, by which point her children by her husband had also returned to her and the family had moved to Ferry Gait Crescent in Edinburgh.
The family was monitored by social services until December 2013, the court heard.
Mr Prentice said Mikaeel was generally 'a healthy, happy little boy'.
He said: 'While he was subject to social work involvement this had ceased by the time of his death and while there had been concerns for his welfare in terms of the accused going out and leaving him and his siblings without adequate supervision in the past, it is not the case that the concerns and attentions of social services were focused specifically on Mikaeel but more on the children and the family as a whole.'
Adekoya was a full-time mother at the time of her son's death. She had recently completed a college course in beauty therapy.
Tragic: Mikaeel's disappearance pulled at the heartstrings of the nation, and particularly in the city of Edinburgh
Tragic: Mikaeel's disappearance pulled at the heartstrings of the nation, and particularly in the city of Edinburgh
Tragic hunt: Members of the public assisting the police with the search in the Silverknowes area of Edinburgh
Tragic hunt: Members of the public assisting the police with the search in the Silverknowes area of Edinburgh
Tributes: Hundreds of bunches and flowers and teddy bears were laid on the ground near Mikaeel's home
Tributes: Hundreds of bunches and flowers and teddy bears were laid on the ground near Mikaeel's home

PUBLIC THANKED FOR SEARCH

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham 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.'
The disappearance and death of Mikaeel Kular shocked and united the people of Edinburgh in equal measure.
Today Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said Mikaeel's disappearance 'resonated across the community in which he lived'.
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.
Poignant: Volunteers at the time of the huge search in the Granton area of Edinburgh before Mikaeel was found
Poignant: Volunteers at the time of the huge search in the Granton area of Edinburgh before Mikaeel was found
Mobbed: Volunteers wrapped up warm in winter clothes turned out to community centres and police stations
Mobbed: Volunteers wrapped up warm in winter clothes turned out to community centres and police stations


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 the house in Kirkcaldy belonging to Mikaeel’s aunt, Adekoya’s sister.
Shock: Officers combed Adekoya's flat in Edinburgh before she was arrested over her son's death
Shock: Officers combed Adekoya's flat in Edinburgh before she was arrested over her son's death
Later that day the toddler’s body was removed from woodland behind the house, where 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.
Neighbour Paul Cairns, 46, who was involved in the search for Mikaeel, said of the boy's mother: 'She was really quiet, she stayed opposite us.
'We used to just see the wee boy sitting up at the window, playing with his toys.
'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, who searched parks, fields and woods for the boy along with hundreds of other people, added: 'It's horrible. There's no words to describe how I feel.
Sequence of events: How the boy's body was found on the other side of the Forth Road Bridge after his death
Sequence of events: How the boy's body was found on the other side of the Forth Road Bridge after his death
'She could still have got help. There's no reason not to have got help.'Other neighbours who helped in the search blasted the decision to allow Rosdeep Adekoya to escape a murder conviction as 'disgusting' and 'unforgivable'.
Simone Evelyn, 29, whose flat overlooks Mikaeel's old home said: 'I think it's murder. For her to
plead guilty to manslaughter is just ridiculous. It's disgusting and unforgivable.
'Everyone around here feels the same - we just hope that whatever Mikaeel went through, she gets in abundance. All I can say is I hope she rots in hell.'
Jack Airlie, 17, said social services should have stepped in earlier.
'More could have been done to stop it,' he said. 'I wouldn't blame it on the social workers but they should have gone and checked more often. Taking such a young life is awful.'
Adekoya will be sentenced on August 25 at Edinburgh's High Court.

'ROSDEEP IS NOT A MONSTER': DEFENCE LAWYER SAYS CASE IS A TRAGEDY

'Not a monster': The mother's psychological state will be examined, the court heard
'Not a monster': The mother's psychological state will be examined, the court heard
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.
The lawyer also described the case as a tragedy for Adekoya herself, telling the court: 'Rosdeep Adekoya is not a monster.'
He said: '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.
'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.

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