Mother used witchcraft to avoid genital mutilation prosecution

Mother used witchcraft to avoid genital mutilation prosecution February 4, 2019

Cows’ tongues, pepper and fruit formed part of a witchcraft plan used by a woman in the UK to avoid prosecution for mutilating her daughter.

The strategy didn’t work, and the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – last week became the first person the in Britain to be convicted of the crime of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC  said at the defendent’s Old Bailey trial that police found at her home two cow tongues “bound in wire with nails and a small blunt knife” embedded in them.

The bound cows’ tongues discovered by police. Photo Met Police.

Forty limes and other fruit were found with pieces of paper with names written on them stuffed inside, including those of police officers and a social worker involved in the investigation. Carberry said:

These people were to ‘shut up’ and ‘freeze their mouths’. There was a jar with a picture of a social worker in pepper found hidden behind the toilet in the bathroom.

The 37-year-old mother – a Ugandan living in east London – wept in the dock as she was convicted  Her 43-year-old partner was acquitted by the jury.

Prosecutors said the mother “coached” her daughter:

To lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught.

The defendants denied FGM and an alternative charge of failing to protect a girl from risk of genital mutilation.

Mrs Justice Whipple warned of a “lengthy” jail term as she remanded the woman into custody to be sentenced on March 8.

During the trial, the woman claimed her daughter, then aged three, “fell on metal and it’s ripped her private parts” after she had climbed to get a biscuit in August 2017.

Medics alerted police to the girl’s injuries after they treated her at Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone.

Jurors were told that the child:

Lost a significant amount of blood as a result of the injuries they had delivered and inflicted on her.

This was only only the fourth FGM prosecution brought to court in the UK. The previous cases led to acquittals.

BBC screenshot

Anti-FGM campaigner Aneeta Prem, above, from Freedom Charity, said convictions were hard to secure because cuttings were:

Hidden in secrecy. People are scared to come forward, professionals are scared to come forward to report this. The fact that we have a conviction today is a really historic moment.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said FGM was:

A medieval practice. We will not tolerate FGM and not rest until perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice.

Lynette Woodrow, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the “sickening” offence had been committed against a victim:

With no power to resist or fight back. We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was. Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught, but this ultimately failed.

Woodrow said FGM victims were often affected physically and emotionally for “their entire life”.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Broga

    It is beyond any words I can use to describe my contempt for a government which has chosen for so long to let this barbarism continue. Anita Prem deserves far more support then she will get from the government who could take action. Too busy with Brexit, I suppose, and protecting their privileges.

  • barriejohn

    In the news again today:

    FGM ‘increasingly performed on UK babies’

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47076043

  • adhoc

    “There was a jar with a picture of a social worker in pepper found hidden behind the toilet in the bathroom.”

    Then where is the jar of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked? Behind the shower?

    Voodoo doesn’t work like it used to. Thanks Obama…

  • Cali Ron

    Thanks Obama? WTF does that mean. Sounds like you are projecting racially motivated hatred of Obama onto something that has absolutely nothing to do with him. Or?

  • adhoc

    ” WTF does that mean. (?) “

    It means that voodoo doesn’t work as well as it did pre-Obama. What did you think it meant? Seemed pretty straight forward to me.

    “Or?”
    It could also mean that you are a melting snowflake. Or… You don’t get sarcasm. Or… You think Voodoo is real. I dunno, and I don’t care which, it’s your choice.

  • barriejohn

    I’m British and I have absolutely no idea what you meant! Why “Thanks Obama”?

  • CamasBlues

    It’s a very US-centric joke. Here’s a summary of the origins from ‘know your meme’: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/thanks-obama

  • Jim Jones

    The /sarcasm tag is implied.

  • Jim Jones

    “I had a flat tire when I went to work today. ‘Thanks, Obama!'” /s

  • persephone

    The comment that labeled it a medieval process is incorrect. It was around before Islam, although it has been adopted by many Muslims in various forms.

  • barriejohn

    Thanks to you and CamasBlues.

    “Two nations separated by a common language”!

  • EllyR

    What can anybody expect from a person that seriously is using witchcraft instead of a lawyer? Primitive and superstitious people are all around us. I am still waiting for any legislator that will be brave enough to try and legislate against male circumcision which is as barbaric and primitive as the female equivalent.
    For all those that might jump and accuse me of antisemitism, I am Jewish and Israeli.

  • Barry Duke

    Anti-semitism and Islamophobia, EllyR, is the stock response of those who defend the primitive mutilation of boys and girls. It is nothing of the sort. Those, like myself, who oppose the physical abuse of children are not anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim. We are simply taking a stand against what is essentially a barbaric practice, and I agree that the authorities should take a stand against all forms of circumcision.

  • EllyR

    Thank you for having the guts to put the issue in the proper perspective. Mutilation of children is a crime and should be punished as such regardless of what “god” is requiring it.

  • Anne Fenwick

    Would you like all girls to be subjected to regular inspections by the health service, at school for instance (and it would have to be ALL girls, wouldn’t it, because racial profiling is a problem and a cause of problems in itself)? Would you like refugees and immigrants who have already had FGM performed on them to be barred from entering the country? Would you condone the idea of inspecting and registering those women as they enter the country and putting them on an automatic social services watch for when they have children? Do you have any other practical suggestions – that are not already been done, I mean… There are already laws, and public education campaigns about the legal and medical impact of FGM in those areas supposed to have at risk populations (mine being one).

  • Broga

    What I would like done is exactly what is being doing already with far more success in some African countries than here. I am talking about education. A film has been made, by a Canadian I think, showing to mothers and children the effects of slicing girls clitorises off, and sometimes part of the labia, and the consequences. These are life long pain with urinating, menstruating and sexual activity.

    The results have been rewarding. Many mothers and girls, some aged around 11 or 12, decided that they would not submit to FGM. One girl, aged 12 ran away from home and has become something of a heroine, for her courage. The current scheme is to try and reunite girls who run away with their families. I heard one interview where an attempt was to be made to cut a girl because her father, while dying, begged that she would be cut. Her reply was “He is dead and if I am cut it will not resurrect him.” She was not cut.

    The UK is hopeless as usual with no drive, no focus and no energy. Only the usual comforting and complacent verbiage of which you provide a prime example. How many successful FGM prosecutions have there been – a recent one but any others? There was a programme on the World Service last night covering this subject. Stop trying to raise difficulties while thousands off young girls are still cut.

  • Anne Fenwick

    The biggest problem with FGM in the UK at the moment is that medical practitioners are completely unprepared to deal with the gynecological needs of immigrant and refugee women who have FGM already. They form the vast majority of the FGM statistic in the UK, we’re talking in the high 90-something %. That statistic is going to go up (unless we turn them away) and reactions like yours, which take no account of this fact, are unhelpful. I mean I don’t know if you really understand this, but when you see a statistic for Britain, it primarily concerns these women, and we don’t prosecute them for having had their genitals mutilated!

    The second problem of course, is to stop those same women trying to pass the custom on to the next generation. As I mentioned, I live in an area where there are a lot of people from the ‘at-risk’ group. There are posters against FGM all over the public toilets and the doctor’s offices. Teachers in schools are trained to be on the lookout for warning signs. Any woman who is recognized by the health service as having had FGM is counselled specifically by the social services. So that is the education you’re talking about. It seems to be working, in the sense that very, very few girls have been discovered who had FGM after being born in Britain (I think the figure is about 12 individuals). The fear is that there are some who will not be discovered until they are old enough to need gynecological services. But nobody really knows, because as I pointed out, we don’t have a plan to go around inspecting young girls’ genitals.