herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Drowned boy accused of being a sorcerer

A couple accused a teenage girl of being a witch two years before drowning a boy believing him to be a sorcerer, a court heard.

They had even made Naomi Ilonga (19) cut her long hair to "release the witchcraft", jurors heard.

Eric Bikubi and his partner Magalie Bamu, both 28, deny murdering Bamu's brother Kristy (15) who drowned in a bath at the couple's flat on Christmas Day 2010.

The prosecution says Kristy and his two brothers and two sisters were beaten and terrorised for four days at the flat in Forest Gate, east London.

They had been accused of being witches and sorcerers after arriving from their home in Paris to spend the festive season with the family.

Kristy, his sister Kelly (20) and an 11-year-old sister were accused of influencing another child in the family.

Jurors at the Old Bailey heard Kristy was tortured with "an armoury of weapons" and had 101 injuries before being placed in the bath of water where he "begged to die". Brian Altman, prosecuting, said family friend Naomi stayed with the couple for a month in August 2008.

He said: "Bikubi accused Naomi of having got witchcraft because she would bite her nails. He was concerned about her sleeping pattern.

"He told Magalie Bamu to throw anything away that Naomi had touched, including articles of clothing and pots, pans and plates, which Magalie did. Bikubi did not allow them to eat for three days and told Naomi to pray. He prayed to release Naomi's 'spiritual soul'.

"Naomi had to consent to the cutting of her hair to release the witchcraft."

The teenager had also allegedly been grabbed and slapped hard on the back.

Bikubi has pleaded guilty to Kristy's manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but this is rejected by the prosecution. He has admitted assaulting Kristy's sisters.

Bamu denies all the charges, but Mr Altman said she had taken part in the abuse. The trial was adjourned to Monday.

hnews@herald.ie

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