This is a truly horrendous story by any measure. The trial is taking place right now in the UK, so all the facts are spilling out into the public domain about how a teenager was tortured to death by his sister and her boyfriend after they accused him of witchcraft.
Kristy Bamu, 15, drowned in the bath of a blood-soaked flat on Christmas Day 2010 after begging to die in a ‘tale of horror’. He suffered 101 separate injuries as he was attacked with weapons including metal poles, pliers, knives, a hammer and heavy ceramic tiles.
His sister Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi, both 28, are accused of beating him to death because they believed he had been possessed by evil spirits.
His two other sisters were also badly wounded after being accused of sorcery, black magic and witchcraft. The siblings had been sent from home in Paris by their parents to enjoy a festive break with their sister at her flat in Forest Gate, East London.
But the visit descended into an almost unimaginable nightmare of violence
You can read about it here in the UK’s Guardian …
Over four days Kristy, who was visiting his sister from France, was tortured with metal bars, wooden sticks, a hammer and a pair of pliers in a “prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality”, the court was told.
After being denied sleep and food and having being repeatedly attacked, Kristy admitted to being a sorcerer in the hope that the violence would stop. He finally begged to be allowed to die.
On Christmas Day 2010 the defendants, who both deny murder, allegedly forced the boy and his siblings into a bath, submerging him in water. Pathologist reports revealed he suffered 101 injuries, and died as a result of drowning and the injuries.
When Kristy was found by paramedics in the eighth-floor flat in Forest Gate, his head, face, back and arms were covered in deep cuts and bruises, and several of his teeth were missing.
Kristy and four siblings were sent by their parents, from their home in Paris, to see their sister and his partner on 16 December. A few days passed “pleasantly enough”, then Bikubi said some of the children were possessed by spirits and were having an evil influence on a younger child in the house, it is claimed.
What can one say except to observe that when irrational beliefs run rampant then the consequences can be truly fatal. The defense being offered in the trial is the claim that they were insane.
When you accuse folks with irrational beliefs of being crazy, they will always dismiss this, but put them on trial and the thought of playing the insanity card suddenly becomes a rather good idea. Will this fly? You will be glad to hear that Brian Altman QC, prosecuting has dismissed all such claims …
“The prosecution say that it was because of Bikubi’s beliefs, which he shared with Magalie Bamu, that he set about depriving the children of food and sleep,” said Altman. “It was those same beliefs that led to the beatings, which became increasingly cruel and increasingly inventive, and which were ultimately to cost Kristy his life.”
He added: “However implausible you might find that proposition, they believed it, and these are beliefs that many intelligent people across the African continent in fact share.”
Bikubi has pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, a defense that was dismissed by Altman. “He knew exactly what he was doing and fully intended what he achieved,” he said.
What makes this all truly hideous is that it was not something done in the heat of the moment, but took place over four days and involved the use of pliers, a chisel, a hammer and metal bars to inflict torture of quite brutal and savage proportions.
Perhaps you might be wondering if this is a story of religious evil, or just mental illness. If pondering over that, then consider the thought that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and also take into account that it was not just a fringe belief, but a deeply held belief in witchcraft, or kindoki, that many intelligent people across the African continent in fact share.
Just to be 100% clear, witchcraft is not real, it is the belief in witchcraft that is lethal.
What is utterly sickening about this is that it is not an isolated example, it has been estimated that around a 1000 child witches are killed in Africa each year. Why does this happen? Simple, it is because human beings can rationalize the most crazy belief systems, and once they do, they will act according to those beliefs. This is why it is vital for us to constantly challenge all such nonsense.
Do you still think that irrational religious beliefs are batty but harmless? Well think again, a child been tortured to death slowly over a four day period and was pleading to be left to die at the end.