Thursday 30 March 2017

Boy (15) 'tortured to death over claims he was witch'

Shenai Raif and Margaret Davis

A teenage boy was tortured and drowned on Christmas Day because a relative believed he was a witch, the Old Bailey in London heard yesterday.

Kristy Bamu (15), was in such pain after days of being attacked with sticks, a metal bar, a hammer and chisel that he begged to die, jurors were told.

His brother-in-law, Eric Bikubi, was joined in the attack by his partner, Kristy's sister Magalie, said barrister Brian Altman, prosecuting.

And his other siblings were forced to join in before they were all placed in the bath to be hosed down in cold water with a shower head by Mr Bikubi on December 25, 2010.

Ms Bamu and Mr Bikubi, both 28, of Hathaway Crescent, Newham, East London, deny murdering Kristy. Ms Bamu also denies two charges of causing actual bodily harm to her sisters.

The youngsters had arrived from their home in Paris to spend the festive season with the couple.

Mr Altman said Kristy had 101 injuries and died from a combination of being beaten and drowning.

In the living room, police found Kristy's brothers and sisters -- brothers Yves (22), and a 13-year-old, and sisters Kelly, (20), and an 11-year-old.

"All were standing in the living room, hysterical, terrified and soaking wet. None of them spoke any English. Both girls appeared to be injured," said Mr Altman.

Kelly said their holiday turned sour when Mr Bikubi accused Kristy, herself and their younger sister of "witchcraft".

"They beat the three of them, refusing to let them eat, drink or sleep for days," said Mr Altman.

"When Kelly tried to warn her mother what was happening in one phone call, Bikubi was sitting beside her with his fist clenched, the jury heard, so she made up a story.

The jury was told that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the defendants are originally from, witchcraft or sorcery, called 'kindoki', is practised in Christian churches.

But if it is taken out of the church's control "it may take on a feral and indeed evil character, as we suggest it did here," Mr Altman said. The trial was adjourned until today.

Irish Independent

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