A mother has been jailed after becoming the first person in the UK convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The 37-year-old Ugandan woman was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter despite deploying witchcraft to ‘shut up’ her accusers.

Mrs Justice Whipple jailed the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for 11 years for FGM and added two further years for possessing indecent images and extreme pornography.

The judge said: ‘FGM has long been against the law and let’s be clear FGM is a form of child abuse.

‘It’s a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It’s an offence which targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable.’

The judge said it was not known why the woman inflicted FGM on her child, contrary to her culture, although witchcraft was a possibility.

On the psychological effect on the victim, she the told defendant: ‘This is a significant and life long burden for her to carry.

‘You betrayed her trust in you as her protector.’

Her partner, a 43-year-old Ghanaian, was cleared of involvement following a trial at the Old Bailey.

However, he pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of an indecent images of a child and two charges of possessing extreme images showing people having sex with a horse and snake.

The judge sentenced him to 11 months in prison, although he had already served his time on remand.

It is now up to the Home Office to decide whether to allow him to continue living in Britain, the court heard.

The couple, from Walthamstow, east London, had been jointly accused of carrying out FGM on their daughter over the 2017 summer bank holiday.

The girl was subjected to ‘deliberate cutting with a sharp instrument’ at her mother’s dirty home, and medics raised the alarm after she was taken to hospital with severe bleeding.

The defendants had lied to authorities that their daughter had been reaching for a biscuit when she fell and cut herself on the edge of a kitchen cupboard.

But the victim later confided in specially trained officers that she had been cut by a ‘witch’.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said: ‘Two cow tongues, they were bound in wire with nails and a small blunt knife also embedded in them, 40 limes were found and other fruit which when opened contained pieces of paper with names on them.

‘The names embedded included both police officers involved in the investigation of the case, the social worker, her own son and the then director of public prosecutions.

‘These people were to “shut up” and “freeze their mouths”. There was a jar with a picture of a social worker in pepper found hidden behind the toilet in the bathroom.

‘Another spell was hidden under the bed.’

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