- Eric Bikubi ordered to serve at least 30 years and Maglie Bamu a minimum of 25 years
- Bikubi told Kristy and siblings to jump out of the window to see if they could fly during abuse
- Judge says the belief in witchcraft, however genuine, could not be an excuse
- Judge agrees the couple also attacked Kristy’s sisters but would not pass separate sentences
- Kristy's father Pierre said his son died in 'unimaginable circumstances at the hands of people he loved and trusted'
A couple were today jailed for life for the 'sadistic' torture and drowning a teenage boy they accused of being a witch.
Kristy Bamu, 15, died on Christmas day 2010 after suffering four days of horrific abuse at the hands of his sister Magalie, 29, and her partner, Eric Bikubi, 28, in their flat in Newham, east London.
The pair used weapons including a metal bar, hammer, chisel, pliers and even heavy ceramic floor tiles to inflict 130 injuries on Kristy, after he refused to say he was a witch.
The teenager eventually drowned in the bath in front of his four terrified siblings as Bikubi hosed them down with freezing water in an abhorrent ‘cleansing’ ritual.
Football coach Bikubi and Magalie were found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey last week.
Today Bikubi was ordered to serve at least 30 years and Bamu a minimum of 25 years.
Sentencing, Judge David Paget told the couple the case was particularly serious and involved sadistic behaviour.
'It was prolonged torture involving metal and physical suffering being inflicted before death,' he said adding: ‘I am in no doubt that this murder did involve a sadistic element.'
He told Bikubi that he accepted his mental damage may have made him more inclined to believe Kristy was a witch and a threat to the young child of the family.
But added: 'The belief in witchcraft, however genuine, cannot excuse an assault to another person, let alone the killing of another human being.'
He told Magalie he did not accept her denial of belief in witchcraft and that she was forced to attack Kristy by Bikubi.
'It is only explicable if you shared Eric Bikubi's belief. It provides some explanation for what happened, but it does not excuse it,' he told her.
Judge Paget said the couple had also attacked Kristy’s sisters but he would not pass separate sentences for that.
He added: 'The ordeal they were subjected to almost surpasses belief.'
Kristy had come to London from Paris with his two brothers and two sisters to spend the festive season with Magalie.
But things turned sour when Kristy wet himself and the couple, who were said to be obsessed with witchcraft known as kindoki in their native Democratic Republic of Congo, accused him of witchcraft.
Bikubi, a heavily-built sportsman, accused the teenager of trying to control another child in the house and of orchestrating a series of unlucky events, the court had heard.
He punched, kicked and headbutted his victim before beating him with a metal weight-lifting bar ‘as hard as he could’ and knocking out his teeth with a hammer.
In one act of savage cruelty, as Kristy’s siblings were hit, forced to join in and help clear the blood, Magalie ripped apart one of his ears with a pair of pliers.
At one point, Bikubi told the youngsters to jump out of the window to see if they could fly, the court heard.
Five hours of desperate phone calls were made to Kristy’s parents in Paris but at first they did not believe their children and were then unable to travel because of the Christmas break.
On Christmas Day, with his face beaten to a barely recognisable pulp, Kristy was thrown into a bath.
His last words were ‘I just want to die now’ before slipping underneath the water.
Kristy's sister Kelly, now 21, broke down several times in court as she relived the terror. She said: 'It was as if they (Bikubi and Magalie) were obsessed by witchcraft. They decided we had come there to kill them.'
Kelly added: 'Kristy asked for forgiveness. He asked again and again. Magalie did absolutely nothing. She didn’t give a damn. She said we deserved it.'
In mitigation Henry Grunwald QC, for Bikubi, said: 'What happened would not have ended as it did had it not been for Mr Bikubi’s mental impairment.'
While Philippa McAlasney QC, for Magalie, said: 'Not only has she has lost her entire family, she faces a solitary life in prison.'
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.'
Scotland Yard has investigated 83 cases involving abuse resulting from ritualistic or faith-based beliefs, and brought 17 prosecutions, over the last 10 years.
Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe said: 'This is a hidden and under-reported crime and therefore difficult to deal with in terms of protecting potential victims from harm.
IMMIGRANTS IN THE GRIP OF 'FERAL SUPERSTITION'
Dr Richard Hoskins, a police adviser, said he has spoken to many immigrant Londoners gripped by the potential power of malicious ‘spirits’ threatening to damage their families.
Traditional methods of exorcism include wearing a charm, fasting or sacrificing an animal and are controlled by the Church.
The university lecturer warned that Christian extremists and evangelists have begun taking advantage of vulnerable families and perpetuating beliefs in witchcraft by offering expensive ‘deliverance services’.
Dr Hoskins said: ‘What seems to happen is that there is this dislocation and, in this case, something feral and wild. It is completely out of control.’
The issue was first highlighted by the case of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in 2000. Victoria, who travelled to Britain from the Ivory Coast, died at the hands of her aunt and her boyfriend after being branded a witch.
A year later the torso of a Nigerian boy, named Adam by police, was found in the Thames after he was ritually sacrificed.
Police believe he may have been killed by someone with a terminal illness who believed his murder would save them.
In 2005, three people were convicted of beating, cutting and rubbing chilli peppers in the eyes of an eight-year-old Angolan girl to ‘beat the devil out of her’.
VIDEO: Squalid scenes inside the flat where Kristy Bamu's body was discovered