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morfrain_encilgar
Sunday, May 29th, 2005, 08:43 AM
Aunt tried to drown eight-year-old 'witch'

(Nicole Martin)

A woman tortured her eight-year-old niece and tried to drown her after being told the girl was a witch, a court heard yesterday.

She and Sita Kisanga, 35, bundled the girl into a laundry bag and was about to throw her into a river when another attacker intervened, the Old Bailey heard.

The girl's 39-year-old aunt, who the court ruled cannot be named, and three co-defendants were said to have abused the girl after an eight-year-old boy claimed she practised black magic.

Patricia May, prosecuting, told the court that they rubbed chilli peppers into the child's eyes, beat her with a belt, cut her with a knife and deprived her of food.

The jury heard that the girl, now 10, was brought to Britain from Angola in 2002 by her aunt. Miss May said the abuse started in 2003 when the victim and her aunt went to live in Hackney, east London, with Kisanga and her son, who accused the child of being a witch.

The court heard that the girl's aunt and Kisanga put the child in the bag, zipped it up and were about to throw it into the New River in Hackney when Kisanga's brother, Sebastian Pinto, 33, stopped them, warning them that under British law they could end up in prison.

The aunt, from Crouch End, north London, and Kisanga deny conspiracy to murder and child cruelty charges. Pinto, and his girlfriend, Kiwonde Kiese, 21, of Stoke Newington, north London, deny aiding and abetting child cruelty between August 2002 and November 2003.

The case continues.