Madrid, Spain, 2016: People protesting during the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation (Photo: Getty Images)

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A girl, 9, was allegedly “punished with FGM by her father”

An ongoing trial at the Old Bailey has heard a harrowing account of abuse

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By Zoë Beaty on

A nine-year-old girl was allegedly forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) as a “punishment” by her father, according to reports from the Old Bailey.

The court was told distressing details of two separate occasions during which the girl was cut with what she believed to be a razor blade in the hallway of her home. The Times reports that during the first instance the girl was “crying and begging” for the abuse to stop, while her father oversaw the cutter, “egging them on”. She “bled a lot”, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said, “but the father would not listen.”

The second time the girl was alleged to have been subjected to FGM is said to have taken place in the same way one week later, when the rest of her family were away. She subsequently bled for a week and was not given any painkillers, the BBC said.

The 50-year-old defendant, a British citizen originally from West Africa, whose children were born in the UK, denies two charges of FGM. He also denies two charges of wounding with intent and three of cruelty over a seven-year period, for allegedly using a stick and slipper to beat his daughter and two of her siblings.

Mr Heywood described the accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, as “harsh and cruel”: “His style of control led him to resort to shouting, belittling, name-calling and violent chastisement, well beyond the bounds of the correct or disciplinary actions of a kind that might be used by a normal and loving father.”

The girl, who is now 16, allegedly confided in a school friend about the alleged abuse, whose mother called Childline, before police became involved in the case

Prosecutors told the Old Bailey that FGM is alleged to have twice been carried out on the girl between May 2010 and July 2013, while the defendant was arrested in July 2017. The girl, who is now 16, allegedly confided in a school friend about the alleged abuse, whose mother called Childline, before police became involved in the case.

Kate Bex QC, defending, said that the offences her client – who is a solicitor – is accused of are wholly denied. “He will tell you FGM is most commonly performed by women … for reasons of honour and social acceptance, not for punishment, physical chastisement or dishonesty,” she told the court. She added that the allegations arose “in the context of a very acrimonious divorce”.

The trial continues.

BBC, The Guardian, The Times

@zoe_beaty

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Madrid, Spain, 2016: People protesting during the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation (Photo: Getty Images)
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