Eric Bikubi, murdered Kristy Bamu

Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, said that a “wall of silence” was obscuring the full scale of cruelty in some communities where beliefs in evil spirits was common.

He was speaking as the Government announced plans to introduce new training for social workers, teachers, police and church members to combat the abuse.

It follows the conviction earlier this year of Eric Bikubi a London football coach, and his partner Magalie Bamu, for torturing and murdered a 15-year-old boy because they believed he was practising witchcraft.

The couple, whose families came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, subjected Bamu’s brother Kristy to a three-day ordeal because they were convinced he was practising “kindoki” or sorcery.

The case had echoes of that of Victoria Climbié, the eight-year-old girl who was murdered by her guardians who believed she was possessed by demons.

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