The mother of tragic 3-year-old Mikaeel Kular today pleaded guilty to killing the youngster, admitting she subjected her son to repeated beatings.
Rosdeep Adekoya, 34, had been accused of murder but admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh.
She admitted wrapping Mikaeel’s lifeless body in a duvet cover, stuffing it in a suitcase and dumping it in a wood in Kirkaldy, some 25 miles from the family home in Fife.
She would later raise the alarm with the authorities, saying Mikaeel had disappeared from his room in the middle of the night, sparking a huge search involving hundreds of volunteers, police, firefighters, mountain rescue teams and even members of the coast guard.
His body was discovered on 17 January, 24 hours after his disappearance.
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 the apartment.
But in court she admitted to beating her son to death, repeatedly punching him and causing his body to hit against a hard object or inflicting blunt injuries on his head and body between January 12 and 15.
The prosecution accepted that Rosdeep had “no intention to kill Mikaeel” and that the assault on him, “although severe, fell short of the wicked recklessness required for murder”.
The court heard how Rosdeep had taken her other four children to school before dumping Mikaeel’s body near the home of her sister.
“Her concocted story unravelled under questioning by police, and it was when they spotted inconsistencies in her story that she broke down and told them where Mikaeel’s body was,” the prosecutor said.
Adekoya’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”.
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.
Today it emerged that child protection services in Scotland have launched an investigation after claims that Mikaeel could have been saved.
Social workers had reportedly been in regular contact with Rosdeep and had even taken Mikaeel into care twice, the last time after Rosdeep had left her five children at home to go clubbing.
Her three eldest children were placed with their father while Mikaeel and his twin sister 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, the court heard.
But social workers returned Mikaeel and his sister to their mother’s care in August last year – just five months before his tragic death.
Rosdeep is said to have had a history of mental illness including depression, stress and anxiety, and had struggled to come to terms with the death of her father when she was 16, the court heard.
She had initially wanted to put Mikaeel and his twin sister up for adoption but later changed her mind.
Rosdeep has three children aged nine, seven and six by her husband Omotoso Adekoya – from whom she is separated but not divorced.
She had become pregnant with Mikaeel after beginning a relationship with childhood friend Zahid Saeed, who was in a long-term relationship.
The court heard she threatened to kill herself after Saeed ended the affair.
Rosdeep will be sentenced on August 25.