December 25, 2010
Newham, London, England
15-year-old Kristy Bamu is killed after four days of torture during a so-called ritualistic cleansing

Kristy and four of his siblings were visiting their eldest sister Magalie Bamu and her partner Eric Bikubi (both pictured) for Christmas. During the visit, Bikubi, a believer in kindoki (“bewitchment,” the belief in witchcraft, sorcery, and possession) accused the siblings of bringing evil spirits into the home. While trying to cleanse the Bamu family, Bikubi and Magalie beat the siblings whose ages ranged from 11 to 22. The youngest children were also told to jump out of a window so Bikubi could see if they would fly. During the beatings, the 11- and 20-year-old sisters “confessed” to being witches in an attempt to end their torture, which worked.

Eventually, Kristy became the sole focus of the attack after he urinated in his pants, which Bikubi took as a sign of possession. Kristy’s siblings were forced to assist in the four-day assault and left Kristy with approximately 130 injuries from knives, sticks, a hammer and chisel, and other weapons. He was hit in the mouth with a metal bar and hammer which knocked out his teeth, his ear was twisted with a pair of pliers, and ceramic tiles and bottles were smashed over his head. Finally, Kristy was brought to a bath tub for a ritualistic cleansing. There, he begged to die. Magalie and Bikubi obliged and drowned him in the tub.

The surviving Bamu siblings testified against their sister and her partner leading to the conviction of both. Judge Paget who ruled over the case noted the religious aspect of the killing and stated, “It provides some explanation for what happened, but it does not excuse it,” before sentencing Bikubi to a minimum of 30 years in prison and Magalie to a minimum of 25.

“Witchcraft murder couple jailed for life.” The Guardian. March 5, 2012. Accessed: December 25, 2019.
“Witchcraft murder: Couple jailed for Kristy Bamu killing.” BBC. March 5, 2012. Accessed: December 25, 2019. (image source)
Israel, Simon. “Pierre Bamu: ‘I wish I could have died before Kristy’.” Channel 4. March 1, 2012. Accessed: December 25, 2019.
Browne, Luke. “UK couple found guilty of Kristy Bamu ‘witchcraft’ murder.” PRI. March 1, 2012. Accessed: December 25, 2019.

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