Mother jailed for life for beating son to death because he failed to learn Koran by heart

Sara Ege was ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years and collapsed as the sentence was delivered
  • @johnmatthewhall

A woman has been jailed for life for beating her son to death because he failed to learn parts of the Koran off by heart.

Sara Ege was ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years and collapsed as the sentence was delivered at Cardiff Crown Court.

Trial judge Mr Justice Wyn acknowledged that “in many respects Ege was a very good mother” but went on to highlight the crucial last three months of her son Yaseen's life.

“The violence that you perpetrated on your son was not confined to one day,” the judge told Ege as he passed sentence.

“I am satisfied that, over three months, you beat him on a number of occasions, often with a wooden pestle.

”His injuries must have caused him a good deal of pain. In my judgment Yaseen was subjected to prolonged cruelty.“

He said the evidence showed that, on the day Yaseen died, he was attacked and suffered ”serious abdominal injuries“.

”There is a further aggravating feature and that is that you attempted to burn Yaseen's body. There can be no doubt that you set fire to his body in an attempt to evade the consequences of what you had done.“

He added: ”What was your motive for acting as you did? I am satisfied that, on the day of his death, Yaseen was kept home from school so that he could dedicate himself to his (Koran) studies.

“On that day Yaseen must have failed in some way because I am satisfied that it was that failure which was the trigger for the beating.

”That is what you told the police in the course of your confession in July 2010 and I see no reason to doubt what you then said was true.“

Ege was found guilty of the murder of her bright seven-year-old son by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court last month.

The schoolboy had suffered multiple injuries to his body and died in July 2010 from internal injuries caused by three months of punishing beatings.

His death was initially treated as a terrible tragedy in the aftermath of the blaze but it was quickly found he was dead before it was set.

Ege accused her husband Yousef Ege, 38, who stood trial with his wife, of being a violent bully who beat her and was their son's real killer.

But he was cleared of causing or allowing his son's death at home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, south Wales, by failing to act to prevent it.

Ege was found guilty both of murder and of a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Sentencing Ege today the judge took a series of mitigating factors into consideration.

He accepted that Ege suffered from a recurring psychiatric illness which, while not amounting to a defence of diminished responsibility, ”lowered the degree of culpability“.

He also acknowledged that domestic violence, of which Ege had complained during the trial, was at least a factor in her mental state.

”I accept that, to an extent, you were a victim of domestic violence and had a difficult relationship with your husband and your mother-in-law,“ the judge said.

He also accepted she had suffered a series of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies before giving birth to Yaseen which had been a cause of depression.

Once she had successfully conceived a child she suffered post natal depression. Later she had breast cancer, an illness she went on to beat.

He said that he accepted that throughout most of Yaseen's life the evidence showed she had been a good mother.

”I also accept what Mr Murphy says: In many respects you were a devoted and loving mother. You did many fine things to bring Yaseen up a good boy.

“I give you credit for the good things that you did in Yaseen's life,” the judge said.

Sentencing had been adjourned from last year to allow the completion of a series of psychiatric reports into Ege's mental state.

The consensus of the reports was that Ege was suffering from depression during the vital final three months of her son's life.

Ege was arrested within weeks of her son's death and has spent the last two-and-half years in a series of secure units.

The judge said that he regarded that period as “semi-incarceration” and would count it towards her 17 year minimum term sentence.