Life sentences for Kristy Bamu murderers
05 March 2012
Life sentences have today, Monday 5 March 2012 been handed to the two people convicted of the murder of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu on Christmas Day 2010.
Magalie Bamu, 29 (21/2/83), the dead boy's sister was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years and her partner Eric Bikubi, 28 (27/7/83) a minimum of 30 years. They had both been found guilty of Kristy's murder at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 1 March.
"The sentencing reflected the brutality and sadistic cruelty inflicted on Kristy"
Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe from the Child Abuse Investigation Command and the officer in charge of the case, said afterwards: "The sentencing reflected the brutality and sadistic cruelty inflicted on Kristy in the days leading up to his death."
The judge also commended all the officers in the case. Last week following the convictions, the trial Judge, His Honour Judge Paget said that the case was both remarkable and, at times, harrowing, and had also thanked Detective Inspector Paul Maddocks for his work on the case.
The conclusion of these proceeding follows a lengthy and complex investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Child Abuse Investigation Command.
On 25 December 2010 police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) at 12:15hrs to reports of a male drowned in a bath at a flat in Hathaway Crescent, Manor Park, E12.
Despite administering CPR, 15-year-old Kristy Bamu was pronounced dead less than an hour later. A doctor on scene found that a number of Kristy's teeth were broken with one lodged in his throat as they tried to resuscitate him.
A post mortem examination found evidence of drowning and blunt and sharp force trauma to his head, body and limbs. Kristy had suffered a series of brutal assaults over several days leading up to the day he died.
Kristy and his four siblings, two males aged 22 and 13 and two females aged 20 and 11, (their ages at the time) had arrived at Magalie and Bikubi's flat from their home in Paris on 16 December, 2010, to spend the holiday period with the couple. The plan was that they would be joined by their parents on December 27. All are French Nationals and unable to converse in English.
The court heard that Kristy had been accused by the couple of being involved in witchcraft. As a result, Kristy was assaulted and denied food, drink and sleep over a four to five day period leading up to Christmas Day 2010. Kristy received 130 internal and external injuries from a variety of implements including a hammer, an iron bar, floor tiles and a lump of wood before, finally, being forced into a bath full of water where, so weak from his injuries, he drowned.
Kristy's two brothers and two sisters, who were with him at the time, were also accused by the pair of being witches. Two of them, Kelly, (then) 20, and her (then) 11-year-old sister, were subjected to various assaults in addition to being deprived of food and drink for a number of days.
Magalie Bamu was also found guilty of two counts of actual bodily harm on 29 February following the Old Bailey. Eric Bikubi had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of actual bodily harm.
Following the convictions on the 1 March Det Supt Sharpe said: "This was a difficult and distressing case to investigate bearing in mind what Kristy suffered over a period of days leading up to his death.
"The Met has done a great deal of work to understand and deal with belief-based child abuse, including witchcraft and spirit possession. However, this is a hidden and under-reported crime and therefore difficult to deal with in terms of protecting potential victims from harm."
"On 16 December, 2010, Kristy Bamu travelled to London with his two brothers and two sisters to spend the Christmas period with his eldest sister, Magalie Bamu and her partner, Eric Bikubi.
"A few days after their arrival, Kristy and his two sisters were accused of being involved in witchcraft by Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi.
"In a ritual to rid them of evil spirits, they were physically beaten, forced to pray and denied food, drink and sleep.
"Kristy was ultimately singled out and brutally tortured for a number of days. Finally, on Christmas Day, in another ritual to wash away evil spirits, he was put into a bath. Too weak from his injuries and unable to raise his head, he was left to drown.
"Kristy's post mortem examination revealed that he had suffered over 130 separate injuries. These had been inflicted in the most barbaric way using various weapons.
"Today's outcome is a tribute to the bravery of Kristy's parents, brothers and sisters who, already traumatised, were forced to relive the horrific events leading up to Kristy's death.
"It is difficult to see how today's verdict will bring much comfort to the Bamu family but I do hope that it will allow them to move on with their lives. Child abuse in any form, including abuse based on a belief in witchcraft or spirit possession, is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths and is never acceptable in any circumstances.
"In regards to this case I have met representatives from the Congolese community, I been informed that they have been horrified by the circumstances of Kristy's death and condemn the actions of those responsible.
"Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the prosecution team and to the professionalism of all the police officers and staff who worked tirelessly to piece together exactly what happened to Kristy under difficult and distressing circumstances."
Kristy's family said: "This last year has been extremely difficult for us having lost Kristy in circumstances that any parents would find harrowing.
"Kristy was a delightful child with a promising future - we will miss him terribly.
"The fact that Kristy died at the hands of those who were expected to look after him and his siblings during their visit to London, makes it all the more difficult for us to come to terms with.
"We will never forget Kristy but we will strive to move forward as a family as this is what Kristy would have wanted.
"We take some comfort that Kristy's death will help to raise awareness of the plight of children accused of witchcraft or spirit possession and promote the need to safeguard children's' rights.
"We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police's Child Abuse Investigation Command and in particular, the family liaison officers, who helped and supported us throughout this difficult period. In addition, we would like to thank the Victoria Climbie Foundation which also provided support throughout the trial."
Jenny Hopkins, Head of Complex Casework Unit at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) London, said: "Throughout this case the Crown Prosecution Service has maintained that the evidence be viewed in its entirety. Eric Bikubi knew what he was doing. His actions were nothing short of torture and he inflicted on the victims violence on an unimaginable scale. His plea of diminished responsibility was unacceptable in view of the facts and today the jury have agreed.
"It has also been proven that his accomplice, Magalie Bamu, acted of her own accord. At no time did she try to stop what was happening. She willingly subjected her 15 year old brother to extreme violence, holding the same long standing belief in witchcraft as her partner.
"I would like to thank the other victims of this horrific crime for their help in bringing a successful conclusion to this case and I hope that the conviction secured today can provide some comfort to Kristy's parents and his siblings at this very difficult time."