LONDON – A couple who tortured and killed a 15-year-old boy they accused of witchcraft have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Erik Bikubi, 28 and Magalie Bamu, 29, drowned Bamu’s younger brother Kristy in a bath in their east London apartment on Christmas Day, 2010, as part of an exorcism ritual after subjecting the teen to intensely violent abuse over a four-day period.
Bikibu and Bamu, both of whom hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo, were found guilty of murder on Friday. On Monday Bikubi was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years, while Bamu must serve 25 years, according to Sky News.
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Kristy and his two younger siblings had travelled from Paris to London to spend the Christmas holidays with the couple. Bikubi, whom Kristy had thought of as an uncle, and Babu turned on the boy after he wet his pants, believing him to be possessed by evil spirits.
The younger children were deprived of sleep during the prolonged attack on their brother, with Bikibu and Bamu forcing them to fast, pray and join in with the beatings inflicted on the boy.
At the couple’s trial, the Old Baily jury in London heard that Kristy was tortured with an “armory of weapons,” including knives, metal bars, wooden poles, a pair of blood-stained pliers, a hammer and a chisel.
During sentencing on Monday, Judge David Paget said that the murder had a “sadistic element,” adding that the ordeal the children were subjected to “almost passes belief,” the BBC reported.
However, the judge accepted Bikubi’s defence that he suffered from brain damage and had genuinely believed Kristy was a witch.
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In a public statement last week, Kristy’s father 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?”
He added: “To know that Kristy’s own sister, Magalie, did nothing to save him makes the pain that much worse,” according to Channel 4 News.
Below is a video on the murder of the 15-year-old boy:
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