LONDON -- A 15-year-old boy who died from "unspeakable savagery and brutality" was attacked by relatives who believed he was a sorcerer involved in witchcraft, a London court heard Thursday.
The victim, Kristy Bamu, was found drowned with 101 different injuries on Christmas Day 2010 in a flat in Newham, east London.
He had traveled with his siblings from Paris to spend the holiday with his older sister Magalie Bamu.
Opening the trial at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Brian Altman told the jury that when Kristy was found, "His face and his head were covered in deep cuts and bruising, his arms and back bore deep cuts and lacerations, there were teeth missing or loose in his mouth."
He added, "It was plain that Kristy had been the victim of a prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality."
Altman said Bamu and her partner Eric Bikubi, both 28, had been abusing members of the family for four days. The prosecutor argued that while the youngsters enjoyed their first few days there, "the mood started to turn sour."
Kristy's siblings were forced to join in the violence before they were all placed in the bath to be hosed down in cold water by Bikubi on Dec. 25, 2010, the court heard.
"It was only when he realized that Kristy was not moving that he stopped what he was doing and pulled him from the water. By then, it was too late," Altman said.
Bikubi, he alleged, believed Kristy was "a sorcerer or witch, practicing witchcraft."
The jury was told the attack was linked to Congolese culture, where witchcraft, or "kindoki" as it is known, means a negative or malicious force.
Altman said the defendants sought "exorcism through the doling out of ever-increasing violent punishment."
When the emergency services arrived, the small eighth-floor flat was covered in blood. It was littered with an "armory of weapons" allegedly used in the attacks, including several knives, a metal pole, a wooden stick, a pair of bloodstained pliers, a hammer, a chisel, broken ceramic tiles and a bloodstained mop.
Altman went on to tell the jury, "In a staggering act of depravity and cruelty, they both forced the others to take part in the assaults upon Kristy."
When paramedics arrived, Bikubi was carrying out CPR on the victim on the bathroom floor.
He told paramedics the victim was his "brother-in-law" and that Kristy had returned to the flat, felt sick and was looking "spaced out."
Other children, injured and terrified, were found in the flat. None of them spoke English.
Bikubi has admitted manslaughter but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness. Bamu denies the charges.