A couple who murdered a 15-year-old boy they believed to be a witch have been jailed for life.

Kristy Bamu was drowned in a bath in an east London flat by his sister Magalie and her partner Eric Bikubi on Christmas Day 2010 after a campaign of "prolonged torture".

Judge David Paget told the pair they had subjected the child and his sisters to an ordeal that "almost passes belief". He ordered Bikubi to serve at least 30 years in jail and Bamu 25.

Kristy's father, Pierre, said in a statement: "Kristy died in unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people he loved and trusted, people we all loved and trusted. I feel betrayed. To know that Kristy's own sister, Magalie, did nothing to save him makes the pain that much worse."


Kristy came to London from his home in Paris to spend Christmas with his sister and her partner, who were said to be obsessed with witchcraft known as kindoki in their native Democratic Republic of Congo. They accused him of putting a spell on another child and struck him with knives, sticks, metal bars, and a hammer and chisel when he refused to admit guilt.

In all, 130 injuries were found on his body. The court heard Bikubi forced the youngsters to pray for deliverance for three days and deprived them of food and water. On Christmas Day, he placed them in the bath for ritual cleansing. But Kristy was too weak. He begged to die and slipped under the water.

His sisters, aged 20 and 11, were also beaten but escaped further attacks after "confessing" to being witches. The judge accepted Bikubi's mental health problems may have made him more inclined to believe Kristy was a witch.

- Independent