Saturday 24 February 2018

Mum questioned by police after child's body is discovered

Officers searching for boy find remains in wooded area

Tributes are left near Mikaeel’s home after a body was discovered by police.
Tributes are left near Mikaeel’s home after a body was discovered by police.

Andy Philip and Hilary Duncanson

The mother of missing boy Mikaeel Kular was questioned by police after a child's body was discovered miles from his home.

Officers searching for the three-year-old from Edinburgh found remains in Kirkcaldy, Fife, late on Friday night.

Mikaeel was reported missing by his mother on Thursday morning, sparking a major hunt involving hundreds of police officers and local volunteers.

Yesterday a body was removed from a wooded area behind a property in Dunvegan Avenue, where neighbours said Rosdeep Kular, 33, used to stay. Residents said it is now occupied by her sister, Mikaeel's aunt.

Police said they "strongly believe" the body is that of the youngster and have detained a person, understood to be Ms Kular.

A memorial service was due to take place at 7pm last night at Muirhouse St Andrew's Church near the home Mikaeel shared with his mother, twin sister and three other siblings.

Floral tributes, soft toys and candles have been placed at a small park in the Drylaw area, around the corner from the family's flat in Edinburgh.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said the discovery of a body was "the news we have all been dreading".

"The hearts of everyone across Scotland and beyond have been touched by the events of recent days.

"We should at this difficult time remember the work of the officers of Police Scotland who have responded to this difficult task and investigation and shown such professionalism and dedication," added Mr Salmond.

Residents of Dunvegan Avenue, around 25 miles from Edinburgh, spoke of their shock at seeing police activity on their street.

Olga Park, a retired nurse who lives opposite the bungalow in Kirkcaldy, said Mikaeel's mother had lived there with her sister when she had Mikaeel.

The resident, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said she saw Ms Kular arrive at the home on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

She said: "I'm just absolutely shocked about what's happened. The fact he's just a three-year-old boy is just terrible. The poor wee thing."

Michael Woods, 53, who lives nearby at Floors Place, said he had been following the developing police investigation but was surprised to find officers at the end of his street.

"First it was in Edinburgh, then they said Fife, then Kirkcaldy and now it's here almost on my doorstep. It's unsettling," he said. "When I heard it was here I just about jumped off my chair."

Police Scotland's Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "As a result of enquiries the body of a young child was recovered in Fife just before midnight.

"We strongly believe this to be the body of Mikaeel. A person has been detained in connection with the recovery of the body and members of Mikaeel's family have been informed of the recovery. Our thoughts and sympathies are with them at this time."

Ms Kular reported putting her son to bed at 9pm on Wednesday and said when she went to check on him at 7.15am his bed was empty.

His jacket and shoes were missing and police said he may have left of his own accord. But almost 48 hours after Mikaeel went missing, they said they had "grave concerns" for his safety and that he may have been the victim of a crime.

Robert Pearson, chairman of the Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse association, said in a statement: "I, like everyone else in North Edinburgh, will be saddened to learn that police have found the body of a child in the search for Mikaeel.

"Over the last few days this community, as well as people from all over the country, has come together to search for him.

"Obviously as time went on we were all aware that the chances of a positive were diminishing but that never stopped us."

Edinburgh MP Mike Crockart told Sky News: "It's the worst possible tragic set of circumstances. There was still hope yesterday when many hundreds came out and were searching the foreshore down at Silverknowes.

"They will all be very sad about the news."

Fife crime writer Val McDermid tweeted: "Bleak day for Kirkcaldy. Heartbreaking end to a short life."

Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "I would like to echo the First Minister's words and praise the excellent work done by Police Scotland who have worked tirelessly to find Mikaeel during this difficult and harrowing time.

"And I would also like to commend the residents of Edinburgh for the outstanding way in which they have supported the work of Police Scotland over recent days.

"I know that the police have greatly valued the assistance that has been provided by many members of the public who have helped with the search.

"The police investigation into this tragic matter continues over the next few days and anyone with information which might be relevant to the investigation should contact Police Scotland," added Mr MacAskill.

Irish Independent

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