— Ugandan mother found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain.
— The woman becomes first ever person convicted of practice in UK jailed for 13 years after mutilating 3-year-old daughter.
Police welcome the sentence as a judge jails the woman over the “barbaric practice” carried out on her three-year-old child.
A British judge on Friday sentenced the first ever person convicted for female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK to 11-year for the mutilation of her three-year-old daughter.
The 37-year-old mother from Uganda has also been given a further two years in prison for other offences – including distributing an indecent image of a child – meaning she has been jailed for a total of 13 years.
The judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, described the FGM as a “barbaric” crime.
“Let’s be clear,” she added, “FGM is a form of child abuse.”
Sentencing the woman, whose daughter is now in foster care, the judge told her there had been “sickening” aggravating factors: “As her mother, you betrayed her trust in you. Whatever the physical consequences, the psychological effects are likely to remain long after the physical scars have healed.”
Turning to the possible witchcraft aspects of the case, the judge said: “We do not know why you did this. You do not come from a culture where FGM is practised: there were suggestions during your trial that your crime was connected with witchcraft or that you [wanted] to cleanse her in some way.
“These suggestions derived from witchcraft objects found at your home and messages found on your phone – but they are no more than possibilities.”
The girl’s mother was convicted of FGM offences in February – the first time anyone has been convicted of the offences since the practice was first criminalised in the UK by the Female Circumcision Act 1985, which was replaced by the stronger Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2003.
Prosecutors told the Old Bailey the mutilation took place at the family’s London home on 28 August 2017, and that the victim had to undergo emergency surgery.
Police were alerted the following day, after a surgeon at Whipps Cross Hospital found evidence of deliberate excisions using a scalpel.
Police found spells and curses in the mother’s home, prosecutors said during the trial.
They included two cow tongues in her freezer bound in wire, with nails and a small knife embedded in them.
There were also 40 limes which contained pieces of paper with the names of police officers and social workers involved in the case.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry told the court the young victim had recovered well but she was likely to have long-term physical and psychological damage.
The judge told the convicted mother: “You betrayed her trust in you as her protector.”
Police said the young girl had been placed with another family.