Prosecutor: New Zealand Woman Drowned During Exorcism Attempt

A New Zealand family drowned a young mother by pouring water down her throat during an exorcism, a court heard Monday.

Janet Moses, 22, died after family members poured water down her throat and into her eyes in an attempt to lift a curse on her, the High Court in Wellington, the capital, was told.

Moses' 14-year-old cousin also had her eyes gouged and water poured down her throat during the same ceremony.

Six women and three men, all members of Moses' family, have been charged with manslaughter.

Crown prosecutor Kate Feltham told the High Court that Moses drowned during an a cleansing ceremony at her grandparents' home in Wainuiomata, near Wellington, in October 2007.

The family believed Moses was possessed, Feltham said.

During the ceremony, Moses was restrained, while family members formed a circle around her, poured water into her eyes and down her throat.

The family had become convinced that Moses had been placed under a curse, or makutu, in which an evil spirit takes over a person's body, as punishment after her sister stole a lion statue from a local bar.

Click here for more on this story from the Times of London.