A mother has been jailed for 11 years after becoming the first person in Britain to be convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM) in a landmark case.
The 37-year-old woman was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter. A further two years were added to her 11-year sentence for possessing indecent images and extreme pornography.
Speaking at the Old Bailey in London, Justice Philippa Whipple said it was not known why the woman inflicted FGM on her child, contrary to her culture, although witchcraft was a possibility.
Whipple described what the woman did as a form of child abuse. “It’s a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It’s an offence which targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable,” she said.
On the psychological effect on the victim, she the told the defendant: “This is a significant and lifelong burden for her to carry. You betrayed her trust in you as her protector.”
The Ugandan woman, 37, and her Ghanaian partner, 43, both from Walthamstow, east London, were accused of cutting their daughter over the 2017 summer bank holiday. Her partner was cleared of involvement following a trial.
Police searched the mother’s home while the parents were on bail, finding evidence of witchcraft, including spells written inside 40 frozen limes and two ox tongues with screws embedded in them with the apparent aim of keeping police, social workers and lawyers quiet.
The crime carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. There have been three other trials involving FGM all of which ended in acquittals.
Research by City University estimated that 137,000 women and girls are living with FGM in England and Wales. Read more