Edinburgh and Fife to pay tribute to Mikaeel Kular

Toys and tributes are left in Muirhouse in memory of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular. Picture Toby Wiliams
Toys and tributes are left in Muirhouse in memory of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular. Picture Toby Wiliams
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MORE than 1000 people are set to line the banks of the Forth in Edinburgh and Fife to let off balloons in tribute to tragic youngster Mikaeel Kular.

The joint memorial to the three-year-old will link for the first time the devastated communities of Muirhouse and Drylaw where Mikaeel lived with his previous home area of Kirkcaldy, where his body was found.

The event – Send-off For Mikaeel – will be held on Friday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Cramond Beach and Ravenscraig Beach.

Meanwhile, piles of flowers, soft toys, candles and cards continued to mount close to the three-year-old’s home in Ferry Gait Crescent, with residents laying more than 2000 bunches of flowers and teddy bears in a line at least four rows deep and stretching more than 50 yards.

Mikaeel was reported missing from his home in Ferry Gait Crescent on Thursday morning amid initial fears he had wandered off by himself.

It sparked a huge search, with hundreds of residents in Muirhouse and Drylaw joining in a frantic hunt and hundreds more phone calls made to a helpline set up by police.

However, their efforts proved to be in vain with the discovery of Mikaeel’s body around 30 miles away in Kirkcaldy late on Friday.

Yesterday, his mum, Rosdeep, 33, appeared in court charged with her son’s murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

She was remanded in custody and is now on 24-hour suicide watch in prison, as is standard practice for new inmates.

White-suited forensics officers yesterday continued their fingertip search of the spot where Mikaeel’s body was discovered in woodland behind a house in Dunvegan Avenue, Kirkcaldy, where the youngster once lived.

Police have sent a letter to parents at the nursery which Mikaeel attended, attached to Flora Stevenson Primary School, asking for any “relevant information” from anyone who might have spoken to the family or have other intelligence to feed into the investigation.

Friday’s balloon memorial has been organised by friends Hayley Clements and Cara Cameron as “a send-off for a beautiful boy taken too soon”.

It is the latest organised gathering after people packed into Muirhouse St Andrew’s Church on Saturday evening for a special service.

Hayley’s husband, Dean Clements, said: “My wife is a new mother and her friend also has children. They thought it would be a nice gesture for people to gather and set off balloons as part of a send-off for Mikaeel.

“As things tend to do these days it all started off on Facebook and now there’s 600 attending from the Kirkcaldy side and 500 in heading to Cramond already.”

Organisers had initially planned to set off Chinese lanterns in a spectacular colourful display, but it is understood balloons will be used instead to avoid disruption to the flight path into Edinburgh Airport.

Roy Douglas, chairman of Muirhouse Salvesen community council, said the community was grieving and “needed answers” before it can start to move 
on. He said: “First there was hope and now it’s grief. People want answers but we just have to wait for the justice system to run its course.

“The community spirit has been incredible, even over the divide of Pennywell Road to Pilton, Muirhouse and Silverknowes. All the barriers of north Edinburgh came down to become a place of hope.”

Mr Douglas insisted community groups – including the council, the Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (Trim) group and the Salvation Army – would continue to support people through the “difficult times”.

He said: “There’s a lot of young children affected by it, too. I’ve got a five-year-old grandson and he used to stay just a couple of doors up from Mikaeel. When he saw the flats on the TV he would say ‘grandad, that’s where I stayed’, which is very sad to hear.”

Condolence books have been opened at five sites across Muirhouse, with more than 500 people putting pen to paper, many simply asking “Why?”.

Robert Pearson, chairman of Trim, said he was overwhelmed by the community’s reaction. He said: “Since the condolence books were opened there has been a steady stream of residents going to sign them. The community is still united, but still heartbroken.”

MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER

THE mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has appeared in court charged with his murder.

Rosdeep Kular appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, charged under her married name of Adekoya.

The 33-year-old is also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice. She made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody by Sheriff Frank Crowe. Prosecutors said they expect Kular to reappear in court in connection with the charges on January 28.

Mikaeel was reported missing from his home in Ferry Gait Crescent last Thursday morning, sparking a massive search operation.

The body of the tragic youngster was found in woodland behind a property in Dunvegan Avenue, Kirkcaldy, on Friday night. His body was taken away by ambulance on Saturday.

His mother appeared at court for yesterday’s brief hearing, which was held behind closed doors with no members of the public or media present.

Kular was represented by defence solicitor Kenneth Cloggie, who declined to comment on the proceedings.

Police detained Kular on Saturday morning and took her into custody. She was charged in connection with her son’s death later that evening. The full details of the charges were not known until yesterday’s court appearance.

The mother-of-five was brought into the side entrance of the court building in Merchant Street by security van shortly after noon. Two uniformed officers stood guard outside the entrance while extra officers were in evidence on George IV Bridge and Chambers Street.

The hearing itself lasted only a few minutes at around 4pm.

Around a dozen press photographers gathered outside the entrance to picture the security van’s departure and around 30 people looked down on the van from George IV Bridge next to Augustine United Church.

At the court’s front entrance in Chambers Street, camera crews from the BBC, STV and Sky delivered live broadcasts as around 50 people gathered outside the building to discuss the case.

More than 200 volunteers joined the emergency services in a huge search operation for tragic Mikaeel in the wake of his disappearance before the discovery of his body was announced by police.

Hundreds of people gathered at Muirhouse St Andrew’s Church on Saturday evening for a service in his memory.

Flowers, soft toys and lit candles have been left outside his home in the Capital.

Emotions are raw but there is strength in unity

By SANDRA DICK

The words “turquoise dinosaur” are the ones that really did it.

Only because at first it was that little bit surreal. Too hard to believe. But the words “turquoise dinosaur”, mentioned in a police statement as darkness fell on Thursday, seemed to make Mikaeel’s disappearance painfully real.

Suddenly parents who had nursed their own children, picked them up every time they fell, ranted at them when they didn’t do what they wanted and gazed at them with that crazy love you feel when you see your sweet child wrapped in the comfortable arms of sleep . . . right then, we knew.

We knew just how that little turquoise dinosaur on his pyjama top felt to touch. We could guess at the way that top might have smelled: baby powder and orange juice, shampoo and banana. We could picture the cute dinosaur, teeth bared into a friendly grin, his plump belly, his big, soft eyes. Not a scary dinosaur.

Sometimes it’s the smallest detail that makes the biggest impact. We’d seen Mikaeel’s face in a photograph but to hear that detailed description of his clothes put a mental picture in all our heads that travelled to somewhere in our gut and made our stomachs twist and tumble.

Later, of course, the churning gut evolved into waves of grief, so poignantly, sensitively and beautifully expressed by the good people of north Edinburgh with flowers and cuddly toys rescued from bedrooms, kissed for a final time and left with a wee handwritten note.

The past few days have taken our emotions and cruelly wrung them dry. The moment hopes were raised when news of a possible sighting drifted through, the agonising groan that greeted the police statement that a child’s body had been found. The disbelief as news came of an arrest, the anger, despair and most of all the very deep sorrow.

Today, as the community in which he lived and played regroups and reflects, those emotions that propelled mothers and fathers and strangers to gather in the hunt for a child most never knew, remain, of course, painfully raw.

It seems wrong to suggest anything positive can come from this situation – the price has been too great.

But maybe that raw emotional glue that brought this tight area together has laid the foundations for something else: a renewed and powerful sense of community spirit, one of unity, strength and pride, inspired by the little boy with the dinosaur pyjamas.