A couple have been found guilty of murdering a teenager they had accused of using witchcraft.
Eric Bikubi, 28, and Magalie Bamu, aged 29, from Newham, east London, had denied killing Bamu’s 15-year-old brother Kristy.
Kristy drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010, during torture to produce exorcism, an Old Bailey jury heard.
Bikubi had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but the prosecution rejected his plea.
The pair, who are both originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, were remanded in custody and are due to be sentenced on Monday. […]
Judge David Paget, who was presiding over his last trial before retiring, told the jury of seven women and five men 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.”
During the trial, jurors heard Kristy was in such pain after three days of attacks by Bikubi and Bamu, who used knives, sticks, metal bars and a hammer and chisel, that he “begged to die”, before slipping under the water.
Kristy had been killed while he and his siblings were visiting Bikubi and Bamu for Christmas, the court was told.
During the stay, Bikubi turned on them, accusing them of bringing “kindoki” – or witchcraft – into his home.
He then beat all three of them and forced other children to join in with the attacks, the jury heard.
But it was Kristy who became the focus of the defendant’s attention, the prosecution said.
Bamu and football coach Bikubi believed he had cast spells on another child in the family, the Old Bailey heard.
Kristy had refused to admit to sorcery and witchcraft and his punishments, in a “deliverance” ceremony, became more horrendous until he admitted to being a sorcerer.
Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe tells reporters that 15-year-old Kristy Bamu was ‘brutally tortured’ before being murdered as footage from inside the flat where he was murdered by his sister and her partner is seen for the first time. [see video above]
Speaking outside court, DSI Sharpe said the Metroplitan police had carried out extensive work to understand and tackle “belief-based child abuse”, which includes witchcraft and spirit possession.
Jury members wept as a statement was read out from Kristy’s father Pierre Bamu. In it he lamented that his family had been robbed not just of a son, but also a daughter and a son-in-law following the murder.
“Kristy died in unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people who he loved and trusted,” Mr Bamu said. “People who we all loved and trusted. To know that Kristy’s own sister, Magalie, did nothing to save Kristy makes the pain that much worse. We are still unaware of the full extent of the brutality – we cannot bring ourselves to hear it.”
In a remarkable showing of magnanimity, Mr Bamu said he must forgive his son’s killers for the sake of his family. “We will never forget, but to put our lives back into sync we must forgive,” he said.