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FIRST UK FGM CONVICTION: Mother who mutilated her three-year-old daughter has become the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The woman and her Ghanaian partner were on trial at the Old Bailey. The woman who mutilated her three-year-old daughter has become the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The 37-year-old mother from east London wept in the dock as she was convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey.
Spells and curses intended to deter police and social workers from investigating were found at the Ugandan woman’s home, the trial heard.
Her 43-year-old partner was acquitted by the jury.
Prosecutors said the mother “coached” her daughter “to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught”.
The defendants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied FGM and an alternative charge of failing to protect a girl from risk of genital mutilation.
Mrs Justice Whipple warned of a “lengthy” jail term as she remanded the woman into custody to be sentenced in March.
FGM – intentionally altering or injuring the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons – carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
During the trial, the woman claimed her daughter “fell on metal and it’s ripped her private parts” after she had climbed to get a biscuit in August 2017.
The woman told a police officer her daughter, then aged three, was not wearing underwear at the time.
The child was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, where she “lost a significant amount of blood as a result of the injuries they had delivered and inflicted on her”, jurors were told.
It is only the fourth FGM prosecution brought to court in the UK, after three others in London and one in Bristol.
The previous cases led to acquittals.
Lynette Woodrow, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the “sickening” offence had been committed against a victim with “no power to resist or fight back”.
“We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was,” she said.
“Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught, but this ultimately failed.”
Ms Woodrow said FGM victims were often affected physically and emotionally for “their entire life”.
Female genital mutilation
Includes “the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”
Practised in 30 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East
An estimated three million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year
About 125 million victims estimated to be living with the consequences
It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
Often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage and to ensure “pure femininity”
Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths
Source: World Health Organization
The mother was born in Uganda but has lived in the UK for a number of years. FGM is banned in both countries, the CPS said.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the conviction sent “a clear message to those who practise this barbaric act”.
“Every woman and girl should be safe and feel safe wherever they are in London, and we will continue our fight to end FGM with every power we have,” he added. BBC