London: An Indian-origin mother, who beat her 7-year-old son to death "like a dog" for failing to memorise the Quran, was Monday sentenced to life for killing him and setting his body afire to hide evidence after applying barbeque gel.
A sobbing Sara Ege, 33, collapsed and had to be helped from the dock after being told that she would serve 17 years before she could be considered for parole.
Cardiff crown court heard that Sara, a mathematics graduate from India, treated her son Yaseen "like a dog" when he struggled to memorise passages of the holy book of Islam.
She beat him on the hands and his body until he collapsed on the floor of his bedroom and died in July 2010, the Guardian reported.
She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a four-year sentence for that crime, the BBC reported.
Her husband Yousuf Ege, a taxi driver, was cleared of allowing the death of a child by failing to protect him.
Sara had pleaded not guilty to murder and claimed her husband was responsible for Yaseen`s death.
While sentencing her, Justice Wyn Williams said: "I am satisfied that it was his failure to learn the Koran that day that resulted in the beating that caused his death".
"On the day of Yaseen`s death you had kept him home from school so he could devote himself to his study of the Koran.
"He was memorising passages but on that day Yaseen must have failed in some way and it was that which was a trigger for the beating.
"You killed your own son. At the time of the killing he was particularly vulnerable because of his age and because of his relative physical frailty.
"In killing your son you abused a precious relationship of trust which does and should exist between a parent and a child," the judge said.
"This prolonged cruelty culminated on the day of his death in what was a savage attack. You then set fire to his body in an attempt to evade responsibility for what you had done".
It was initially thought Yaseen had died in a fire, but tests later revealed he had died hours earlier.
But a postmortem examination revealed he had died before the fire had begun and had suffered multiple injuries to his body caused by three months of physical punishment.
The jury was told that Sara and her husband, enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at a local mosque because they wanted him to become Hafiz - someone who memorises the Quran.
As a child, Sara had herself committed large sections of the book to memory and entered competitions to demonstrate her ability. But she became increasingly frustrated when her son was unable to do as well as she expected and began beating him, the court was told.
Sara said she frequently promised herself that she would stop attacking her son but could not resist beating him. She claimed she had been urged on by the devil and bad spirits. At one point she believed the stick she used to punish her son was possessed by an evil spirit.
In a complicated series of claims and counter-claims Sara had confessed to the murder and then retracted that confession, the BBC reported.
She claimed her husband and his family forced her to make the confession and that he was the killer.
The harrowing confession was recorded by police and shown to the trial jury in evidence.
In it, Sara described how Yaseen collapsed after she had beaten him while still murmuring extracts of the Koran.
She then used barbeque gel to burn her son`s body in an attempt to hide the evidence.
"I was getting very wild and I hit Yaseen with a stick on his back like a dog."
She later retracted her statement.