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Mother first to be convicted of FGM

First prosecution in England for failing to protect a person from FGM

The mother of a young girl has become the first person to be convicted of female genital mutilation offences in England and Wales. She was found guilty of committing FGM in August 2017 when her daughter was three years old. The mother was born in Uganda has lived in the UK for a number of years. FGM is banned in both countries.

The mother (37) and father (43) were both charged with:

The father was acquitted by the jury.

This case was the first time that anyone in England and Wales was charged with failing to protect a person from FGM under section 3a of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

During the procedure at her mother's home in north London, parts of the girl's genitalia were either cut and removed or partially removed.

The defendant claimed her daughter's injuries were caused when she fell from a kitchen counter and onto an open, metal lined cupboard door. None of the medical experts who gave evidence supported that claim. The Old Bailey heard that she was deliberately cut and the injuries amounted to FGM.

Lynette Woodrow from the CPS said:

"Female genital mutilation has an appalling physical and emotional impact on victims that usually lasts their entire life. We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was. A three-year-old has no power to resist or fight back. Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn't get caught but this ultimately failed.

"We will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit this sickening offence."

During the police investigation it was discovered that the mother had an interest in witchcraft. The investigating officers found a number of spells and curses in her home. These included two cow tongues in her freezer bound in wire with nails and a small knife embedded in them. There were also forty limes and other fruit which, when opened, contained pieces of paper with names on them. The names included those of police officers in the case, CPS staff and social workers. These people were to "shut up" and "freeze their mouths".

The mother kept a diary which contained a prayer to a female deity: "I come before thee today with tears in my eyes, fear in my heart. My mother, I made a choice in my life with that choice I could be going to jail". When interviewed by police she denied practising witchcraft but refused to answer all questions about the items in her freezer.

This is the first time anyone has been convicted of FGM offences since the practice was criminalised in the UK in 1985. For more information about the criminal law and prosecution guidelines in respect of FGM, click here.