A mother brutally beat her seven-year-old son to death with a stick then set his body on fire because he was struggling to commit passages from the Koran to memory, a court was told.
Sara Ege, 32, is alleged to have beaten Yaseen Ali 'like a dog' for failing to recite passages from the religious text, before burning his body at the family home in Cardiff to try and cover up what she had done.
The youngster's death was initially believed to be a tragic accident following the blaze at the house in Pontcanna, until a post-mortem examination revealed Yaseen had died before the fire broke out, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
Ege is also accused of abusing her son in the months leading up to his death, allegedly beating him with a hammer and locking him in a shed for falling behind with his Islamic studies.
The trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard how the university graduate and her husband Yousuf Ege had enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at their local mosque and hoped he would become Hafiz - an Islamic term for someone who has memorised the Koran.
In a video recording of her interview with police Ege told officers she had set her seven-year-old the target of memorising 35 pages in three months.
But the court was told fun-loving Yaseen preferred to play with his friends and fell behind with his learning.
'I was getting more and more frustrated,' Ege said in the interview.
'If he didn’t read it properly I would be very angry - I would hit him.
'But Yaseen wasn’t very good - after a year of practice he had only learned a chapter.”
She went on: 'I was getting all this bad stuff in my head, like I couldn’t concentrate, I was getting angry too much, I would shout at Yaseen all the time.
'I was getting very wild - I use to beat him with a stick.'
The court was told how Ege hit Yaseen with a hammer, a rolling pin and a slipper as well as repeatedly punching him.
She would also allegedly lock him in the shed, tie him to a door, and force him to do push ups.
The court heard that in the months after Yaseen's death Ege told a doctor she had been told to kill her son by Shaitan - an Islamic name for the devil - and that she felt 100 per cent better after he died.
Notes kept by her GP record her as saying: 'It is like something has been released. For three or four months I have not been normal.'
Police and firefighters were called to the family’s home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, in July 2010 after a blaze ripped through the top floor.
Little Yaseen was pulled from the blaze and fire fighter Rhodri Morgan told the court how he’d given him CPR believing he could save his life.
He said: 'I was performing compressions on his chest, but I kept having to take my hand away because his skin was so hot.
'While I was doing this bits of skin and fat were flaking off his legs - it was like when a piece of newspaper burns and curls.'
Barbecue lighter fuel was found on her Ege’s clothing when she was arrested after a post mortem examination revealed Yaseen was dead before the fire broke out.
She denies murdering Yaseen and burning his body to hide what she had done.
Her husband denies causing or allowing the death of a child by not stopping his wife’s beatings.
Yaseen's father, who would drive the seven-year-old to mosque for his Koran practice before and after school, has said he never saw his wife raise a hand against their child.
The trial continues.