UK jury convicts couple of killing boy for ‘witchcraft’

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LONDON (AP) — A British jury on Thursday found a couple guilty of torturing and murdering a 15-year-old boy whom they accused of witchcraft.

Magalie Bamu and her partner Eric Bikubi, originally from Congo, were convicted of killing Magalie’s brother Kristy Bamu, who drowned in a bathtub on Christmas Day 2010.

Prosecutors at London’s Central Criminal Court said the teenager had 130 injuries inflicted by sticks, a metal bar, a hammer and a chisel. They said he eventually drowned after being forced into a bathtub and doused with cold water.

The boy “had been the victim of a prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality,” prosecutor Brian Altman told the jury.

Kristy’s sister and her boyfriend beat him as part of a “deliverance” ceremony because they believed he had cast spells on another child in the family, according to the prosecution.

Kristy and four siblings aged 11 to 22 lived in Paris but had been visiting their older sister in London for the holidays. Soon after they arrived, Bikubi accused them of bringing witchcraft into the home.

All were forced to pray for deliverance for three days and nights and deprived of food and water. Two sisters, aged 20 and 11, were beaten along with Kristy, but escaped further attacks after “confessing” to being witches, the prosecution said.

Bikubi, 28, and Magalie Bamu, 29, had pleaded not guilty. Judge David Paget said they would be sentenced Monday.