Woman drowned in New Zealand bizarre exorcism

May 5th, 2009 - 5:54 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, May 5 (DPA) A Maori mother of two drowned when water was poured into her mouth and eyes to wash out demons in a bizarre exorcism ritual, a Wellington court was told, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
A tribal elder told relatives that Janet Moses, 22, had been possessed by an evil spirit triggered by the theft of a concrete lion statue from outside a hotel, the Dominion Post reported.

Three men and six women pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Moses in October 2007 when their trial opened in the Wellington High Court Monday.

One of the women and another man were also charged with cruelty to a 14-year-old girl, who was thought to have caught the evil spirit from Moses after she died. The girl survived.

Defence attorney Mike Antunovic, representing all 10 defendants whose names were suppressed by the court, said what took place was an intense and powerful experience.

They thought Moses and the girl wanted the evil spirit removed and they tried to help them, he said.

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