5 March 2012
Last updated at 08:04 ET
Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu were convicted of murdering Bamu’s 15-year-old brother Kristy
A couple who tortured and murdered a 15-year-old boy they accused of using witchcraft have been jailed for life.
Kristy Bamu and four of his siblings were visiting his sister Magalie Bamu, 29, and her partner Eric Bikubi, 28, when he was killed.
Kristy drowned in a bath in an exorcism at their flat in Newham, east London, on Christmas Day in 2010 after days of torture, the Old Bailey heard.
Bikubi was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years while Bamu must serve 25 years.
During sentencing, Judge David Paget said the murder had a “sadistic element”, adding it was “prolonged torture involving mental and physical suffering being inflicted before death”.
Hammer and chisel
He added that the ordeal the children were subjected to “almost passes belief”. However, he accepted Bikubi’s defence that he had brain damage and had believed that Kristy was a witch.
But Judge Paget added: “The belief in witchcraft, however genuine, cannot excuse an assault to another person, let alone the killing of another human being.”
Kristy Bamu suffered 101 injuries and was found dead in a bath
He told Bamu he did not accept her denial of belief in witchcraft and that she was forced to attack Kristy by Bikubi.
“It is only explicable if you shared Eric Bikubi’s belief. It provides some explanation for what happened, but it does not excuse it,” he told her, adding that at no stage had she said sorry.
During the trial, the court heard that Kristy was attacked with knives, sticks, metal bars and a hammer and chisel by Bikubi and Bamu before slipping under the water.
He was visiting the couple for Christmas along with his siblings, who were also attacked by the couple after Bikubi accused them of bringing “kindoki” – or witchcraft – into his home.
Bikubi beat all three of them and forced other children to join in with the attacks, the jury heard.
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