Congolese couple has been found guilty of killing Kristy Bamu in the witchcraft murder that took place in Old Bailey.

Witchcraft Murder: Congolese Couple Guilty of Killing Kristy Bamu
Kristy Bamu

A couple from Newham in east London, Eric Bikubi, 28, and Magalie Bamu, aged 29 have been found guilty of murdering a teenager they had accused of using witchcraft. Magalie Bamu and her partner had denied killing her 15-year-old brother Kristy.

The victim, Kristy drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010, during a witch exorcism process in which he was tortured, an Old Bailey jury heard.

Eric Bikubi admitted to charges of manslaughter in order to receive reduced sentence. Nevertheless, the prosecution rejected his plea.

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu are both originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The couples were remanded in custody and are scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.

‘No comfort’

According to Kristy’s family, they had “forgiven” his murderers.

According to a family statement read out in court by prosecutor Brian Altman QC, “We will never forget, but to put our lives back into sync we must forgive.

“We take no comfort in the verdicts – we have been robbed of a beloved son, a daughter, a son-in-law.

Magalie Bamu “stoked the fire” of Bikubi’s violence, the court heard

“Kristy died in unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people who he loved and trusted. People who we all loved and trusted.”

According to what 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.

Witchcraft Murder: Congolese Couple Guilty of Killing Kristy Bamu
Congolese Couple

‘Begged to die’

“It is a case we will all remember,” he told them. “Court staff will speak to you and offer help to you.”

All through the trial, jurors heard Kristy was in such pain after three days of attacks by Bikubi and Bamu, who attacked him with knives, sticks, metal bars and a hammer and chisel, up to the extent that he “begged to die”, before drowning in the water.

The court was told that, Kristy Bamu was killed while he and his siblings were visiting their elder sister Magalie Bamu and her partner Bikubi for Christmas.

In the course of their stay, Bikubi turned against them and accused them of bringing “kindoki” – or witchcraft – into his home.

He went further to beat all three siblings as well as forced other children to join in the brutal attacks, the jury heard.

The prosecution rejected Bikubi’s claim of being mentally ill and consequently rejected his plea. However, it was Kristy who became the focus of the defendant’s attention, according to the prosecution.

Bamu and his football coach partner, Bikubi, believed Kristy 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.

According to Bikubi’s defence, he was mentally ill when he carried out the carnage, with a scan of his brain displaying lesions which “probably contributed to an abnormal mental state”.

‘Unimaginable violence’

All the same, the prosecution had rejected this as a plea to reduce the charge against him.

Throughout her defence, Magalie Bamu told the jury she was forced by Bikubi to join in the attack on her siblings.

However, the court heard there was sufficient proof to demonstration she hit Kristy and “stoked the fire of violence” Bikubi had started in the flat.

Outside the court, chief crown prosecutor Jenny Hopkins said Bikubi “knew exactly what he was doing”.

Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Bikubi “inflicted violence on an unimaginable scale”

“His actions were nothing short of torture and he inflicted on the victims violence on an unimaginable scale,” she said.

“It has also been proven that his accomplice – Magalie Bamu – acted of her own accord.

“She willingly subjected her 15-year-old brother to extreme violence.”

According to Met Det Supt Terry Sharpe, “Child abuse in any form, including that based on a belief in witchcraft or spirit possession, is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faith, and is never acceptable in any circumstances.”

According to Kristy’s family, they hope comfort could be drawn from his death through raising awareness “of the plight of children accused of witchcraft or spirit possession and promote the need to safeguard children’s rights”.

BBC 1 March 2012
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