When 15-year old Kristy Bamu arrived from France to visit his sister and her partner in their East London apartment, he was subjected to "unimaginable physical torture" before being drowned in December of 2010. In testimony presented to the Old Bailey court on the opening day of their trial, Magalie Bamu and her partner Eric Bikubi were accused of murdering Kristy Bamu and torturing his two sisters, apparently to force them to confess to practicing sorcery.
According to testimony, Kristy Bamu and his two sisters were subjected to days of sleep deprivation, starvation, and repeated attacks with metal bars, wooden sticks, a hammer, and pliers in what the prosecutor described as "a prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality". After days of abuse, Kristy Bamu reportedly confessed to being a sorceror to end the torture. The boy and his sisters were then forced into a bathtub and submerged in water. An autopsy showed that he died of drowning and the 101 injuries found on his body.
Allegations of witchcraft began shortly after Kristy and his four sisters arrived in London. Following a few uneventful days, Eric Bikubi began accusing several of the siblings of being possessed by spirits and having an "evil influence" on the youngest child. According to Kristy's younger sister, Kelly, the allegations of witchcraft began after Kristy wet his pants and attempted to hide them in the kitchen. Magalie Bamu supported her partner and joined him in attempting to exorcise spirits from Kristy and his two sisters. The children were forced to chant and pray non-stop for several days before Kristy became the focus of Bikubi's abuse. The abuse became so bad that Kristy eventually begged for death.
Following Kristy's death, paramedics called to the scene found deep cuts and bruises on his head, face, back and arms as well as several missing teeth. All of the children were hysterical and soaking wet. Although none of the children spoke English, a French-speaking paramedic was eventually able to extract "a tale of horror" from Kristy's younger sister, Kelly. She identified the various items in the apartment that were used as weapons to torture them all into confessing to witchcraft. Eventually, Bikubi took Kristy into the bathroom and placed him into the bathtub which he then filled with water. Kristy was too badly injured and exhausted to keep his head above the rising water and eventually drowned. Bikubi then placed the other children into the tub and hosed them all with cold water using the shower head. Magalie Bamu then called emergency services claiming that her brother had drowned himself and that Bikubi was trying to revive him. Both Bikubi and Magalie Bamu called her parents several times during the younger children's ordeal and Bikubi had threatened to kill Kristy if he was not returned home. After failing to hear further from them, the parents attempted to travel to London but the Christmas rush prevented them from arriving until after Kristy's death. When neighbours had complained of the flooding from the apartment, the local council sent a plumber who found "nothing untoward" in the apartment and left shortly before emergency services were called.
In testimony presented to the court, jurors were told that both Bikubi and Magalie Bamu were natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo where belief in sorcery is widespread. Although witchcraft accusations and killings are prevalent across much of Africa, cases of anti-witch violence remain rare in Western countries. Eric Bikubi has denied being guilty of murder but has confessed to manslaughter and pleaded guilty to two counts of actual bodily harm. Magalie Bamu has denied all charges and the trial is continuing.