Five South Koreans on trial in Germany for murder of woman during 'exorcism'

A lawyer representing Yejun G (face covered), one of the defendants in a murder case, guides his client into the courtroom in Frankfurt, Germany, on Oct 10, 2016.
A lawyer representing Yejun G (face covered), one of the defendants in a murder case, guides his client into the courtroom in Frankfurt, Germany, on Oct 10, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

FRANKFURT (AFP) - Five members of a South Korean family went on trial in Frankfurt on Monday (Oct 10), accused of killing a woman in a hotel room during a supposed exorcism ritual.

The accused include the 16-year-old son of the 41-year-old victim.

Believing she was "possessed by demons", they tied her to a bed, gagged and severely beat her for two hours, prosecutors said.

A 44-year-old woman - the cousin of the victim - her 21-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, and another boy aged 15 are also on trial.

Prosecutors say that the woman began talking to herself and lashing out for no apparent reason when the six were in the hotel room in December 2015, leading the accused to attempt the "exorcism".

Police arrested the suspects on murder charges over the "severe violence" against the woman, whose chest and stomach were beaten while she was gagged first with a towel and then a cloth-covered coat hanger.

"Massive chest compression and trauma to the neck" caused the woman's death by suffocation, investigators said after finding the victim's body in the hotel room.

As well as the corpse, police found a second suspected female victim, badly injured and suffering from hypothermia and dehydration, in the garage of a house the group had rented in the town of Sulzbach.