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Pair murdered boy 'for being witch'

A couple have been convicted of murdering a teenage boy who was tortured and drowned for being a witch.

Kristy Bamu, 15, was killed by his sister Magalie, 29, and her partner Eric Bikubi, 28.

He died in a bath at their tower block flat in Newham, east London, on Christmas Day 2010 after days of being abused. He had come to London from Paris with his two brothers and two sisters to spend the festive season with Magalie.

But things turned sour when the couple, who were said to be obsessed with witchcraft known as kindoki in their native Democratic Republic of Congo, accused him of putting spells on a younger child.

Football coach Bikubi and Magalie were found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey and will be sentenced on Monday.

Judge David Paget told the jury of seven women and five men that 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."

Kristy's family was not in London for the verdicts but a statement was read from his father, Pierre. He said: "Kristy died in unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people he loved and trusted - people we all loved and trusted. I feel betrayed. How could they accuse, judge and sentence? To know that Kristy's own sister, Magalie, did nothing to save him makes the pain that much worse."

Detectives said other children in Britain had been subjected to terrible ordeals after being accused of witchcraft. And children's charities and aid groups called for more to be done to make carers and churches aware of possible abuse.

The court heard that Kristy was in such pain after three days of fasting and being attacked that he "begged to die". He had been struck with knives, sticks, metal bars, and a hammer and a chisel. After he refused to admit to sorcery and witchcraft, his punishments in a "deliverance" ceremony became more horrendous.

At the end of their ordeal, the brothers and sisters were all placed in the bath to be hosed down in cold water with a shower head. Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "It was only when he realised that Kristy was not moving that Eric Bikubi stopped what he was doing and pulled him from the water. By then it was too late." Kristy had 130 separate injuries and died from a combination of being beaten and drowning.


From Belfast Telegraph