She savagely killed her little boy… so why is she preparing for freedom after just four years in jail?

By Graham Grant

THE young woman wearing a smart winter coat and trendily ripped jeans sits at a library desk, peering intently at a computer screen.

Later she packs her books into a bag and strolls to the bus-stop, where fellow passengers might believe her to be a mature student at the local university.

Yet Rosdeep Adekoya is one of Scotland’s most notorious child-killers, a woman who just four years ago was jailed for the culpable homicide of her toddler son Mikaeel Kular.

In a crime of breath-taking savagery, she battered the three-year-old to death as a punishment for being sick when he fell ill following a family dinner at a Nando’s restaurant.

When she discovered he was dead, she dumped the body in a suitcase before telling police that the child had gone missing, sparking a massive search in which hundreds volunteered to help officers look for the boy.

But Adekoya, 38, was tried for culpable homicide, rather than murder, and jailed for only 11 years by a judge who condemned her ‘cruel and inexcusable’ actions – while accepting she had not intended to kill.

Inexcusable, indeed, but only four years and four months after she was sent to prison in August 2014, Adekoya was pictured last week on the streets of Stirling, near Cornton Vale women’s jail.

Not for Adekoya the solitude of life in a cell: she is a resident of an ‘independent living unit’ outside the jail, converted staff quarters which afford her ready access to the local community.

She is locked up at night but during the day can move around with relative freedom, provided she is able to show she is going to a work placement, or to the library.

A makeover has transformed Adekoya’s appearance – her dark hair has been dyed and she has lost weight – and according to sources she is the ‘most privileged prisoner anyone’s seen’, having been moved to the unit in June.

The units are intended to get prisoners ready for their return to the outside world, and for Adekoya it seems those preparations started early.

She is eligible to be freed on parole next year, at the halfway point of her sentence, when she will have to demonstrate that she can be trusted.

Prison insiders say Adekoya’s trips to the library are part of the process to persuade parole chiefs of her suitability for release.

Even if her parole bid fails, she will be freed automatically at the two-thirds point – after seven years and four months – because Adekoya was jailed before a tightening-up of early release rules.

It is hard to imagine a more grotesque insult to the memory of Mikaeel Kular than for his killer to have served less than four years in any kind of meaningful custody before enjoying phased readmission to society.

Mikaeel Kular and his mother Rosdeep Adekoya

Remember that back in January 2014, Adekoya engaged in a deeply cynical cover-up of her son’s death, keeping quiet in the midst of a UK-wide search for Mikaeel.

Adekoya had dialled 999 to report him missing, but in reality she had attacked him so viciously that when his body was found it had more than 40 injuries.

It later emerged that when the single mother, who enjoyed an alcohol-fuelled party lifestyle, moved to Edinburgh in the summer of 2013, she was allowed to slip off the social work radar.

This was despite Mikaeel being subject to an early version of the SNP’s disaster-prone Named Person scheme.

Officials in Fife neglected to tell their counterparts in Edinburgh, and stopped monitoring the family weeks before the boy’s death.

Adekoya was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of culpable homicide and a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Yet her internet history showed searches including ‘I find it hard to love my son’ and ‘Why am I so aggressive with my son?’

For those who participated in that heartbreaking hunt for Mikaeel, before the true horror of his final moments was revealed, and for the thousands who followed the story as it unfolded, it was incomprehensible that Adekoya’s actions should have been deemed culpable homicide.

That the sentence was only 11 years was just as baffling, and indefensible; but the further subversion of that sentence by granting community access for Adekoya – in effect a kind of graduated early release – is simply morally repugnant.

Members of the public who trusted Adekoya’s version of events in the hours after Mikaeel’s disappearance are now expected to accept that she is a reformed character after a short spell in prison.

That 11-year sentence, then, bore no relation to reality, but there’s nothing new in this: dishonest sentencing is an entrenched part of a criminal justice system that now appears to exist in a parallel universe.

Within legal circles, when the story of Adekoya’s outside trips came to light at the weekend, there was anger that a newspaper should have published images of her walking the streets.

Their argument was that the coverage would hamper her rehabilitation and besides, she is soon due for parole, so it’s only fair that she should be granted a degree of freedom.

Douglas Thomson, president of the Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, asked on Twitter: ‘Presumably she [Adekoya] has now been in custody since [her arrest in] late January 2014, so close to five years.

‘She is eligible for consideration for parole around July 2019, so has some limited community access. How is this a story worthy of comment?’

One legal academic, Elaine Ferguson, thankfully did raise a point of objection during that online legal debate to say she was not sure ‘that there’s any PR that could convince the general public to be enthusiastic about the reintegration of someone who beat a toddler to death, stuffed him in a suitcase and let lots of people go looking for him’.

No-one should forget the nightmarish ordeal Mikaeel was forced to endure at the end of his short life.

When children are sick, their need for comfort and support from their mum or dad is at its most acute, and yet when Mikaeel was ill, his mother dragged him to the shower and ‘beat him heavily’ on his back as he lay over the bath edge.

Then after he died she stuffed his corpse into a suitcase and hid it in woodland behind her sister’s house in Kirkcaldy.

Yet the judge who jailed Adekoya, Lord Glennie, concluded: ‘I do not suppose that you really understand why you did what you did.’

The killer’s immediate instinct to cover up Mikaeel’s death, and the viciousness of the beatings she administered, might suggest otherwise.

Either way, Adekoya would have had plenty of time to reflect on her monstrous evil over many years in a prison cell – if only our soft touch justice system were not so irreparably broken.

*This column appeared in the Scottish Daily Mail on December 11, 2018.