‘“You clearly needed help, but did not know how to ask for it.”
The 34 year old mother of five was initially charged with murder, but plead guilty to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.
Sentencing Adekoya in Edinburgh’s High Court yesterday, Judge Lord Glennie told Adekoya what she did was “cruel and inexcusable”.
He said: “Striking a child even once is bad enough. 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.”
Lord Glennie said he accepted Adekoya’s remorse was genuine and heartfelt, and continued: “You are clearly an intelligent and articulate young woman. “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.”
Mikaeel died two days after being beaten by his mother at the family’s home in Muirhouse in January.
She then put his body in a suitcase before burying it behind her sister’s house in Kirkcaldy, but called police to say that Mikaeel had disappeared from her home – she claimed Mikaeel had got out of bed and climbed on a stool to unlock the front door of his home.
Police officers who attended the flat reported that she initially appeared “very upset and distressed” but inconsistencies began to appear in her account of events, who by the Friday evening “suspected that all was not as she had indicated”.
The alert led to a huge public search, called off when police enquiries led to the discovery of Mikaeel’s body in Fife two days later.
His mother, who has a history of depression, “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 was told.
When Mikaeel was sick for a third time, his mother dragged him to the shower by his arms and “beat him heavily” on his back as he lay over the bath edge – it’s thought 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 at Flora Stevenson’s. He was assaulted again on the Monday after being sick and became “listless” – the court was told his mother did not take him to a doctor because of the bruising.
By Tuesday night, Mikaeel was said to be “quiet” and was giving a “limited” response to his mother’s questions: he died on the night of Tuesday 14 January from injuries inflicted the previous Sunday, and Adekoya subsequently admitted wrapping Mikaeel’s body in a duvet cover, putting it in a suitcase and driving to Dunvegan Avenue in Kirkcaldy, where she hid the case under a bush in woods behind a house.
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.
Adekoya pleaded guilty to repeatedly punching her son and causing his body to hit against a hard object or inflicting blunt injuries on his head and body between 12 and 15 January at their home in Ferry Gait Crescent.
The local community – who responded magnificently to appeals for help in searching for Mikaeel – is now discussing ideas to create a lasting memorial to the wee boy whose short life touched so many lives.