Samurai suicide attack at Japanese shrine

A priestess at a Tokyo Shinto temple has been killed by her brother and sister-in-law in a samurai sword attack.

A samurai sword covered in blood was found at the scene of the ambush.

The priestess' brother's wife was herself later found dead - apparently slain by her husband, who also killed himself.

The 58-year-old priestess, Nagako Tomioka, was confronted by brother Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, outside the shrine, BBC News reported.

The man's wife, in her 30s, first attacked Ms Tomioka's driver - stabbing him with a sword. He got away, and his wounds aren't believed to be life-threatening.

The priestess suffered stab wounds and lacerations, and later died. Her brother then turned on his wife.

"We believe the male suspect stabbed the woman before stabbing himself," a police spokesman said.

Locals told media there has been a succession feud brewing between the priestess and her brother, who was sacked as chief priest at the shrine in 2001.

In 2006 he was arrested for threatening to send his sister "to hell".

The shrine has been in operation since the 1600s.