A teenage boy underwent “unimaginable physical torture” before being drowned by his sister and her partner because they believed he was a sorcerer who was practising witchcraft, a court heard on Thursday.
Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu, both 28, killed 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in their east London flat after violently abusing him for several days, and repeatedly attacked the victim’s two sisters, whom they accused of sorcery, the Old Bailey heard on the opening day of the trial.
Over four days Kristy, who was visiting his sister from France, was tortured with metal bars, wooden sticks, a hammer and a pair of pliers in a “prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality”, the court was told.
After being denied sleep and food and having being repeatedly attacked, Kristy admitted to being a sorcerer in the hope that the violence would stop. He finally begged to be allowed to die.
On Christmas Day 2010 the defendants, who both deny murder, allegedly forced the boy and his siblings into a bath, submerging him in water. Pathologist reports revealed he suffered 101 injuries, and died as a result of drowning and the injuries.
When Kristy was found by paramedics in the eighth-floor flat in Forest Gate, his head, face, back and arms were covered in deep cuts and bruises, and several of his teeth were missing.
Kristy and four siblings were sent by their parents, from their home in Paris, to see their sister and his partner on 16 December. A few days passed “pleasantly enough”, then Bikubi said some of the children were possessed by spirits and were having an evil influence on a younger child in the house, it is claimed.
“Despite her own siblings’ denials that they were involved in witchcraft, Magalie Bamu joined her boyfriend in repeating these fantastic claims and participating in the assaults,” said Brian Altman QC, prosecuting.
The court was told that over a period of days the pair, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, attempted to exorcise evil spirits they believed were in three of the children — Kristy, his sister Kelly, 20, and their 11-year-old sister, who cannot be named. Bikubi refused “to let them eat, drink or sleep for days, while the punishments became increasingly violent, with [the attackers] using the many implements found in the flat as weapons of torture”, Altman said.
During their ordeal the siblings were forced to pray and chant throughout several nights and, in a “staggering act of depravity and cruelty”, the defendants recruited sibling against sibling as “vehicles for their violence”, said Altman.
Kristy became the focus of Bikubi’s attention, the court heard. He allegedly struck the boy with a hammer in the face, knocking out his teeth; on another occasion he shoved a metal bar into the teenager’s mouth, the court heard.
When Kelly attempted to hit her brother using something light, she was ordered to use a heavier implement. In a desperate attempt to prevent any further suffering, Kristy and his two sisters eventually admitted to being sorcerers, said Altman. “As Kristy’s injuries became ever more severe he even pleaded to be allowed to die,” he added.
When paramedics got to the flat just after midday on Christmas Day 2010, there was blood across walls, furniture, ceiling and floor. […more…]