Pair Guilty Of Boy's 'Witchcraft' Murder

A couple have been found guilty of the barbaric murder of a 15-year-old boy who they believed was a witch.

Football coach Eric Bikubi and his partner Magalie Bamu, both 28, subjected her younger brother Kristy to four days of brutal torture.

The boy had travelled with his two brothers and two sisters to London from Paris to spend the 2010 Christmas holidays with their eldest sister.

During the visit, the couple turned on Kristy and became convinced he was possessed.

They believed he had cast spells on another child in the family, the Old Bailey heard.

Tests found Kristy, who was singled out after wetting his pants, had suffered 130 injuries and that he had drowned in the bath during a final ritual of deliverance.

The boy was in such pain after days of being attacked with knives, sticks, metal bars, and a hammer and chisel that he "begged to die" before slipping under the water, it was claimed.

The teenager had refused to admit to sorcery and witchcraft and his punishments in a "deliverance" ceremony became more horrendous.

The driving force behind the killing was their belief in the phenomenon of "kindoki" , which is an established part of spiritual life in areas of central and western Africa.

The killers both hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo where belief in witchcraft is particularly strong.

Bikubi had sought the advice of pastors in London but the torture of Kristy went far beyond the deliverance services carried out in African churches.

A series of sustained attacks took place in a small eighth-floor flat in Manor Park, east London, where the rooms were left covered in blood.

The Old Bailey jury was told there was an "armoury of weapons" including several knives, a metal bar, wooden poles, a pair of blood-stained pliers, a hammer, a chisel, broken ceramic tiles and a blood-stained mop.

Bikubi and Magalie Bamu deprived the other children of sleep for four days, made them fast and forced them to pray.

The sisters, aged 20 and 11, were beaten along with Kristy, but escaped further attacks after "confessing" to being witches.

The terrified siblings, who also included a 13-year-old boy and an autistic brother aged 22, were made to join in the torture.

At one point, Bikubi told the youngsters to jump out of the window to see if they could fly, the court heard.

They looked to their older sister to save them, but instead Magalie encouraged Bikubi and beat Kristy until he also confessed to witchcraft.

The defendants, who denied murder, were remanded in custody to be sentenced on Monday.

Judge David Paget told the jury of seven women and five men that the case was so "harrowing" he was exempting them from jury service for the rest of their lives.

"It is a case we will all remember," he told them. "Court staff will speak to you and offer help to you."

Kristy's family were not in London for the verdict but a statement was read from his father, Pierre.

He said: "Kristy died in unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people he loved and trusted, people we all loved and trusted. I feel betrayed. How could they accuse, judge and sentence?

"To know that Kristy's own sister, Magalie, did nothing to save him makes the pain that much worse."

Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe said: "The Met has done a great deal of work to understand and deal with belief-based child abuse, including witchcraft and spirit possession.

"However, this is a hidden and under-reported crime and therefore difficult to deal with in terms of protecting potential victims from harm."

The NSPCC children's charity warned that Kristy Bamu's ordeal was not an isolated case.

It said: "The vast majority of people in the communities where it can take place are horrified by these acts and take no part in this atrocious behaviour.

"So we must not be afraid to challenge these communities to out the wrong-doers within them. But sadly this deeply disturbing case is not a one-off incident."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting