5 arrested over exorcism death in Germany

  • 10/12/2015

German police have arrested five South Korean family members suspected of beating to death a 41-year-old woman in a religious exorcism ritual in a hotel room, prosecutors said.

The relatives allegedly believed the woman, also South Korean, was "possessed by demons" and tied her to a bed, gagged and severely beat her for two hours, with the goal of "driving out the devil", the prosecutors said.

"I have never seen anything like it," said chief prosecutor Nadja Niesen of the western city of Frankfurt.

Police had arrested on murder charges a 44-year-old woman, her 21-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter as well as two boys aged 15, one of whom was the victim's son.

The suspects had used "severe violence" against the woman, beating her chest and stomach while gagging her with a towel and then a cloth-covered coat hanger.

National news agency DPA reported the five were South Koreans of unknown religious affiliation who had arrived in the city around six weeks earlier.

The body was found Saturday (local time) in a hotel room where the five suspects were arrested over the attack, which investigators said was driven by "unfeeling and pitiless" sentiment.

The cause of death was "suffocation due to massive chest compression and trauma to the neck".

The investigation led police to discover a second suspected victim, a badly injured female relative suffering hypothermia and dehydration, in the garage of a house the group had rented in the town of Sulzbach.