'Witch' child abuse jury sent out
("BBC News," June 1, 2005)
London, England - The jury at the trial of three people accused of cruelty to an eight-year-old girl they thought was a witch, has been sent out to consider its verdict.
The girl's 39-year-old aunt and Sita Kisanga, 35, from Hackney, east London, deny conspiracy to murder and several counts of child cruelty.
They are accused of beating her and then trying to throw her into a river after zipping the child up in a bag.
Sebastian Pinot of north London, denies aiding and abetting child cruelty.
The girl, now 10, was brought to the UK from Angola after she became an orphan.
'Beaten with belt'
Last month the girl told the Old Bailey jury that she was to be "thrown away" into a river from a third-floor flat.
She said she had been zipped up in a bag and women she knew as her mother and aunt were about to throw her out.
She added that she was fed only tea and bread and beaten with the buckle end of a belt.
The ill-treatment of the girl started at the beginning of 2003 when a boy told his mother that the girl had been using witchcraft against the family.
The prosecution alleges the 39-year-old woman, who claimed to be her mother but was her maternal aunt and Ms Kisanga were planning to kill the girl in November 2003.