A mother who inflicted “sickening” female genital mutilation on her three-year-old daughter has been jailed for 13 years after the first ever successful UK prosecution of the crime.
The 37-year-old Ugandan woman deliberately had her daughter cut with a scalpel, enlisting the help of an older woman for the illegal procedure carried out in August 2017.
When her young daughter started bleeding heavily, she was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment and was then identified by doctors as an FGM victim.

The mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, lied that the injuries had been sustained when her daughter fell on to a cupboard door while reaching for biscuits.
When police raided her home in Walthamstow, they discovered witchcraft spells she had cast in a bid to “silence” police, social workers, and prosecutors including then DPP Alison Saunders.

The mother had used lemons, limes, and mineral alum for the homemade spells, and also had two cow tongues bound in wire and stabbed with nails and a knife in her freezer.
She was convicted of FGM last month, in the first ever conviction in the UK since the practice was first criminalised in 1985.

Handing down the sentence at the Old Bailey on International Women’s Day, Mrs Justice Whipple sentenced her to 11 years in prison for FGM and an extra two years for indecent images of children and extreme pornography discovered after her arrest.
The judge said the crime was “sickening” and involved an abuse of trust as the girl’s mother.

“FGM has long been against the law and let’s be clear, FGM is a form of child abuse”, she said.

“It involves deliberate genital mutilation, it is a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It’s an offence that targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable.”
She said the girl may be “embarrassed and inhibited” when she grows up with the “life-long burden” of being an FGM victim.

“The true significance of what occurred may not become apparent to her for years to come”, she said.
The judge added that the motive for the crime may never be known, as the mother did not come from a culture where FGM takes place.

Today, the woman pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent video of a child and publishing online extreme pornography involving animals, which was discovered after her arrest for FGM.
Her estranged partner was cleared at trial of the FGM against his daughter, but was jailed for 11 months today after he pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children and extreme pornography.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told the court the mother started making spells to “silence” her accusers even as her daughter was laying in a hospital bed.

The girl was taken into foster care and revealed that she had been told to lie about how she was injured.

Ms Carberry said the mother held down her daughter while the other woman, described by the girl as a “witch”, wielded the scalpel.
“It was a gross breach of trust carried out at the hands of a person who should have cared for her the most”, she said.
“She is likely to experience reduced sexual sensations in the future and the psychological impact upon her cannot yet be ascertained.”

During the trial, the mother stuck to her story that her daughter had been injured in a fall on to a kitchen cupboard, despite overwhelming medical evidence that this could not be true.
Her lawyer, Rebecca Wong QC, told the court: “The nature of the offence for which she was convicted means, in reality, that her safety will be of concern for the duration of her sentence.

“She has already been the subject of a number of threats in custody and she is no longer able to work in the prison kitchen. Her sentence will be harder than many other sentences of comparable length.”
She will be on the sex offenders’ register for ten years after her release from prison, while her ex-partner will be on the register for the next ten years.

The Standard

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