A Ugandan woman living in Walthamstow, east London, has become the first person convicted in the UK of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The 37-year-old and her 43-year-old Ghanaian partner, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, had been accused of cutting their 3-year-old daughter during the 2017 summer bank holiday.
They both denied FGM and an alternative charge of failing to protect a girl from risk of genital mutilation.
During the investigation, police found bizarre spells inside 40 frozen limes and two ox tongues with screws embedded in them. These were alleged to be an attempt to ‘shut up’ police, social workers, officers and lawyers in the case through witchcraft.
After deliberating for less than a day, the jury acquitted the partner but found the woman, who wept in the dock as the verdict was read out, guilty of FGM.
The British authorities have previously been criticised for not successfully prosecuting anyone for FGM for the last 34 years since it had been made illegal.This was despite reports in 2018 that around 4,500 new cases of FGM had been recorded in the previous year, the equivalent of more than one every two hours.