A woman accused of murdering her son for failing to learn parts of the Koran by heart made a harrowing video confession which was shown to a jury today.
Sara Ege, 32, allegedly beat seven-year-old Yaseen to death with a stick and then burned his body in an attempt to destroy the evidence of her brutality.
Ege made an emotional confession to the police within days of Yaseen’s death at their home in Cardiff in July 2010.
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court listened in silence today as she described how Yaseen collapsed, still murmuring extracts from the Koran.
Asked why she had set his body on fire within minutes of his death, she said: 'I was too nervous.'
Yaseen had been hit with a stick for failing to memorise extracts from the Koran and was still injured at the time of his death, she said. 'He was swollen from a couple of weeks ago,' Ege said in the interview.
A sobbing Ege was allowed to leave the dock while the harrowing hour-long footage was shown to the jury. In it, she described undressing Yaseen when he collapsed and soiled himself, then dragging him to the kitchen to feed him milk.
The boy was left lying naked on the kitchen floor, still reciting extracts from the Koran, as she poured him the drink. He then took several sips before being dragged and pushed along a corridor to his bedroom and told to get dressed by his mother.
When he proved incapable, she dressed him herself and left him on a rug by his bed, claiming she believed he had fallen asleep. Ten minutes later, she returned to witness Yaseen shaking and shivering on the floor and gulping a final breath before dying.
'A greenish yellow liquid came from his nose and I saw that he was gone,' she said.
Within moments Ege said she decided to burn his body and ran downstairs to get a lighter and a bottle of barbecue gel. Ege, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, later retracted the confession made to the police over several days in July 2010. She denies a single charge of murder and a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Her husband, Yusef Ali Ege, 38, is on trial with his wife, accused of causing or allowing the death of his son by failing to act. In the recording shown in court, Ege describes trying to pick up Yaseen after he collapsed but ending up 'dragging him along the corridor'.
'When I spoke to him he just recited the Koran and said ‘Yes, Mum, yes, Mum, yes, Mum,” Ege states in the interviews.
When she reached his bedroom she left her naked son on a rug by his bed while she went to get him some clothes.
'He was still reciting what he had been reading and I gave him his clothes and he would not put them on. He was just saying ‘Yes, Mum, yes, Mum’, so I thought I would put them (the clothes) on for him.
'I had to treat him like a baby. Then he slept and I thought ‘OK, I will go now’. He was still murmuring the Koran.
'He was breathing as if he was asleep when I left him. He was still murmuring the same thing over and over again. I thought that he was just tired.'
Ege said in interview that Yaseen had collapsed in a similar way about six weeks earlier and had been fine after a night’s sleep. Earlier, the jury was told about the work regime the youngster had to follow, which included Koran classes after school and at weekends.
Ege went on to describe finding her son gulping before he died only minutes after she had left him apparently sleeping soundly.
'I went into his room and I went to Yaseen and he was making a funny gulping-like noise and his mouth was going very funny.
'He was lying on his side on the rug facing the bed with a greenish yellow liquid coming from his nose. I saw him twitching.
'It was like he was gone. I tried to wake him up and I tried to lift him up. But his heart was not beating. I thought ‘Yaseen has gone’.”
She added: 'I was there. I was tapping him, I was lifting him up, I was shouting ‘Yaseen’. I was looking at myself in the mirror and pulling my hair.
'I was getting angry with myself and went downstairs because Yaseen was gone.'
Ege returned to the courtroom for the afternoon session when other DVD interviews were shown to the jury.
Unrecorded sections of interviews with Ege were also read out by a police officer and one of the prosecution team’s barristers, David Elias. Ege also confessed that she was out of control and beat her son for almost no reason.
She said she had made vows to herself not to hit him but had repeatedly broken them within days.
A hush fell over the court as Ege described in interview setting the fire in the knowledge that he still had swollen ribs from his beatings.
'At the time I was not thinking of anything, I was just very scared. It is just the same thing over and over again, that I beat Yaseen when I used to take the stick.
'It was not my intention to do anything. I cannot explain, I loved my son so much. He was so good. He never, ever complained about anything.'
She added: 'I just blame my anger. I lost control. I cannot put all this together. There was no intention in me to harm my son.'
During the interviews she said after beating Yaseen on one occasion he had gone to school in such pain he was unable to sit. He was sent home and Ege managed to switch him to another school where staff were told he had a leg injury which prevented him sitting.
Yaseen’s death was originally believed to have been a tragic accident, the court has heard. It was only discovered later that he was already dead before the blaze had been lit.
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.
The prosecution case is expected to concluded either on Friday or early on Monday next week.