Solicitor used female genital mutilation to punish daughter, nine, court told

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A solicitor has gone on trial accused of beating his children and organising for his nine-year-old daughter to undergo female genital mutilation to punish her.

He had arranged for someone to come to the family home on two occasions and cut the young girl with a razor as she lay on a mat in the hallway, the Old Bailey heard.

She cried in pain and begged for it to stop but her father had simply continued “egging” the cutter on, she said in an interview.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told a jury on the first day of the trial: “Extraordinarily, he arranged for his eldest daughter to be cut.”

He added: “As far as she could understand it was a form of punishment, with which her father had previously threatened her.”

The girl, who the court heard could not recall the identity of the cutter or whether they were male or female, was allegedly subjected to the ordeal twice between 2010 and 2013.

Mr Heywood said: “She recalls it was done with an implement, she described as a razor, taking about 10 minutes.”

He added: “She begged and begged for it to stop.”

However, he said, she remembered her father was “egging the person on”.

The second incident happened when she had healed after the first, the court heard, and caused her to bleed for a week.

The prosecution said the cutting did not happen for any cultural or family reason, but rather as punishment.

The allegations came to light after the girl told a friend, whose mother then contacted Childline.

The 50-year-old man, originally from west Africa, would also allegedly use the stick from a McDonald’s balloon or a cane to hit his children.

Another daughter had been subjected to name-calling by her father, including “bastard” and “slut”.

She said she first remembered him hitting his children when she was aged just six years old.

A son had also been hit with a stick as punishment, the jury was told.

Mr Heywood said: “His (the defendant’s) style of control led him to resort to shouting, belittling, to name-calling and on occasion to violent chastisement, the kind of thing that went well beyond the bounds of corrective or disciplinary actions of a kind that might be used by a loving father.”

Kate Bex QC, defending, told the jury they would hear that female genital mutilation (FGM) was “predominantly perpetrated by female cutters on women” for reasons including “purification, honour and social acceptance”.

Referencing the breakdown of the children’s parents’ marriage, she said her client believed his offspring had been “susceptible to their mother’s influence at the expense of their relationship with their father and have, whether consciously or not, rewritten their history”.

The defendant faces two counts of FGM between May 30, 2010 and June 1, 2013, and two alternative counts of wounding with intent.

He also faces three charges of cruelty – one each against the same daughter and two of his other children across a seven-year period until 2016.

The defendant, of south London, denies all the charges.

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