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Nigerian couple jailed in UK for beating their kids

15 August 2012, 14:08

Lagos -  What most Nigerians culturally do by using corporal punishment to correct their children when they do wrong and go scot free has become the albatross for two Nigerian couples resident in the United Kingdom.

For beating their six children with brooms, hoovers and wires and even giving their baby a morphine overdose after childbirth, the Nigerian couple have been jailed for seven years each in London, with the UK press calling them all sorts of names.

 But the Nigerian married couple denied the allegations, claiming the children were victims of a racist witch-hunt. They were, however, found guilty of cruelty to a person under 16.

 The parents convicted of a decade long campaign of abuse against their six children were jailed for seven years each yesterday.

The Nigerian couple, which the paper said claimed their kids were possessed by evil spirits, were found guilty after Coronation Street star Michelle Collins gave evidence against them.

The parents argued that the children had been ‘brainwashed’ into making the allegations by the police, the London Borough of Haringey and Miss Collins who they said ‘wanted to steal’ them, UK’s  Green Crown Court heard.

Jurors rejected the parents conspiracy theories. When they are released, they face deportation back to Nigeria – despite pleas from their legal team that they have been ‘punished enough’ by having their children taken into care.

As they left the court, the paper said the couple wailed: ‘We are innocent, this is a miscarriage of justice.’

The couple were accused of  beating their children with brooms, hoovers and wires and even giving  their baby a morphine overdose just days after her first birthday.

A report published in UK’s Daily Mail said five of the children were rescued after their eldest daughter threw a heart-wrenching SOS note out of a window.

The report said it was not until their one-year-old baby was given a morphine overdose over a year later that police reopened the case which led to their prosecution.

The paper said the plight of the children was so bad that Miss Collins, who met them at a church lunch, took them to the cinema ‘because she felt sorry for them’.

The Miss Collins gave evidence as a prosecution witness during the trial of the parents, both 40, who could not be named to protect their six children.

Sentencing them to seven years behind bars each, Judge James Patrick described it as ‘shocking mistreatment’ that they had tried to cover up with a ‘web of deception’.

Judge Patrick said: “No-one who sat through this trial could help but be moved by the fact that these intelligent, charming, fun, lovable children continue to love you despite what you put them through.

“You alleged a conspiracy involving a well-known actress, who had done nothing but show your family generosity and kindness, a member of a housing charity, social workers and foster carers.

“Those who had taken the trouble to support you were repeatedly accused of dishonesty, lying, and conspiracy to rob you of your children when the reality was that both of you were lying – in fact they ware simply seeking to give your children stability.”

But the parents claimed they were victims of a conspiracy – and even alleged Miss Collins was involved in a witch hunt against them and wanted to ‘steal’ their children.

One of the youngsters, a baby at the time, had been allowed to stay in the home by Haringey council, who were involved in other case called the Baby P and Victoria Climbie cases, despite the fact the five other children had to be rescued.

The abuse reportedly came to the attention of police in April 2010 when their nine-year-old wrote an SOS note and threw it out of her bedroom window.

The heart-breaking plea read: ‘My mum is the worst mum ever because she can’t cope with five of us, her broken hand and being pregnant. She always leaves me out so I always starve and I am forced to work.

‘If I don’t get enough house work done, I am beaten without mercy with the wooden end of a broom. I have scars all over me to prove it. I can’t stay here. I would like a new mum.’

It was found by a neighbour who called the police, and when officers attended the address they found the children living in messy conditions with ‘dirty’ and ‘dishevelled’ clothing.

Revealing scars the eldest said her mother had hit her with a cable, a broom, and a hoover and her father had dangled her by her feet down the stairwell of the house, tied her hands behind her back and her legs together ‘to get the devilish spirits out’, prosecutor Emma Smith said.

Her sister, who was seven at the time, had a stick shaped bruise of her thigh and after a few months in care, she drew a series of pictures showing her dad beating her and her being left home alone and including a speech bubble saying ‘I’m hungry.’

The children were left home alone for hours, sometimes days on end, with the elder kids forced to look after the others.

They had even been forced to lie to a charity and social services that they were living alone with their mother in one room and had no idea who their dad was so they could scam benefits.

Even during the trial the eldest feared she had torn her family apart with her ‘devastating cry from the heart in the form of a letter which she threw from the window’, the judge noted.

There was an investigation but no further action, and the five children remained in care until the parents once again came to police attention on 28 June last year, when they gave their baby an overdose.

‘But for the events of June 28 you would have gotten away with your crimes because of a merciful decision not to prosecute you’, Judge Patrick noted.

The couple’s sixth child, a baby girl, the report said, was also initially taken into care but then returned to her parents. They took her to St Thomas’s Hospital just days after her first birthday last year.

The paper went on to say that without treatment, the baby could have died but doctors managed to save the youngster, who it is believed was given morphine orally that morning.



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