by Adeniyi Abdul
A Nigerian man and his wife living in the United Kingdom have bagged seven-year jail terms for child molestation. The couple was accused of beating their six children with brooms, hoovers and wires, in attempts to cleanse them of evil spirits. The case is particularly noteworthy because it was brought to attention by star actress Michelle Collins of Coronation Street, who met the children at a church lunch. The case came to the attention of the police in April 2010 when the family’s nine-year-old daughter wrote an SOS note and threw it out of the window. ‘My mum is the worst mum ever because she can’t cope with five of us, her broken hand and being pregnant,” the note read. “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.”
The eldest, who was reponsible for the note, revealed in church that 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.
No action was taken on the case in 2010 till it got new attention a year later when the couple gave one of their children a morphine overdose. They rushed their youngest child to St Thomas’s Hospital on June 28 2011 just days after her first birthday where doctors discovered she had been given a morphine 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 James Patrick said, accusing them of creating a ‘web of deception’.
“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,” the judge told the couple, who claimed they were simply victims of a racist witch-hunt. “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.”