Neighbours who rallied to hunt for three-year-old Mikaeel Kular have blasted a lawyer for condemning them as an “ill-informed mob”.
Defence QC Brian McConnachie, acting for Mikaeel’s killer mother Rosdeep Adekoya, made the controversial comments before his client was handed an 11-year sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Mr McConnachie told judge Lord Glennie: “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.”
His comments were branded “disgusting” by the scores of volunteers who searched for Mikaeel when he was reported missing by his mother, before it emerged she had beaten him to death and hidden his body in a suitcase.
Neighbour Nikki Garrick said the comment was clearly aimed at the locals who were in the public gallery for yesterday’s sentence.
She said: “Who is he to sit there and judge people? They are only there to support the street and they get called a mob.”
The heartbroken Drylaw community were united in their frustration at Adekoya’s sentence, which could see the 34-year-old eligible for early release after five and a half years.
Julie MacLeod, whose petition calling for Adekoya to face a charge of murder rather than culpable homicide attracted more than 5000 signatures, said: “At the end of the day, it’s just not enough. We are the ones who have got to go home and explain this to our children. We have got to live with what’s happened for the rest of our lives.”
Mikaeel’s father Zahid Saheed, 30, also criticised the sentence as too light. “It’s an insult to Mikaeel, me, my family and everyone who helped look for him,” he said.
Mikaeel died on January 14, two days after being beaten repeatedly by Adekoya following a family day out.
After discovering his lifeless body on the floor of their Ferry Gait Crescent home, she put it in a suitcase and drove to Kirkcaldy, to hide it in woodland. Adekoya reported him missing to police, sparking a major two-day search operation involving hundreds of local volunteers.
The 34-year-old 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 heard that Adekoya had a history of depression and had attempted suicide in 2001.
Judge Lord Glennie said he accepted that Adekoya’s remorse was “genuine and heartfelt”, despite her “cruel and inexcusable” actions.
Adekoya, who was wearing a black shirt and burgundy trousers, wiped away tears throughout the hearing.
Mr McConnachie said Adekoya had struggled to deal with the death of her father when she was about 17 and found it hard to cope with life as a mother of five. He said Adekoya – whose internet history showed searches including “Why am I so aggressive with my son” – found it hard to form an emotional attachment to Mikaeel.
The lawyer said his client “panicked” after she found Mikaeel’s body, however she accepted her actions were “unforgivable”.
Lord Glennie told Adekoya: “There is no history of violence by you towards any of your children. I do not suppose that you really understand why you did what you did.”