A young man was tied up and killed by his own family as they carried out a form of ‘exorcism’, a court heard today.
Kennedy Ife’s parents and brothers misguidedly believed he was ‘possessed by evil spirits’ and set about ‘curing’ him with prayer and restraint, jurors were told.
They allegedly used cable ties, rope and handcuffs to restrain the ‘vulnerable’ 26-year-old at home in Enfield, north London, in the days before his death in August 2016.
Kennedy Ife, 26, died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the family home in Hadley Wood, Barnet, on October 22, 2016. Pictured are two of his brothers, Daniel and Roy, (left) and his father, Kenneth, (right) outside the Old Bailey Today
Kenneth and Roy Ife outside the Old Bailey. The defendants all deny charges including manslaughter, false imprisonment and allowing the death of a vulnerable adult
Kennedy’s parents, Kenneth and Josephine, and five brothers Roy, Harry, Colin, Samuel and Daniel are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of his manslaughter.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC said: ‘This is a case in which a young man in his 20s lost his life. The reason is that his own family decided that because he had become and remained unwell he should be restrained with cable ties, rope and handcuffs.
‘They decided that he should be restrained in his own home with them rather than calling 999. Ultimately that restraint was a cause of his tragic death.
‘The 999 call that was eventually made for expert assistance was too late.
‘The family put misguided religious beliefs about this young man being possessed by a demon or evil spirits before the obvious and common sense conclusion that he needed help and did not need to be restrained.’
Mr Little said the Ife family held deep and unusual religious beliefs, described by one of the defendants as ‘charismatic Christians’.
When Kennedy showed signs of illness in August 2016, they allegedly believed he had become possessed by evil spirits and decided to restrain him, jurors heard.
Mr Little told jurors: ‘Instead of calling 999 or seeking other expert assistance they sought to ‘cure’ his perceived illness through prayer and restraint.
‘Whether this was some form of exorcism will be a matter for you in due course.
‘In short, the Ife family took the law into their own hands.’
Josephine Ife, 56, and Kenneth Ife 64, deny manslaughter, false imprisonment and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult between August 19 and 23 2016 along with their sons Colin, 26, twins Daniel and Samuel, 20, Harry, 32, and Roy 33.
A book was found in the family’s living room entitled, ‘Anger, madness and the Demonic,’ which contained a chapter on exorcism versus psychiatry.
It said that exorcism ‘is always conducted by a team of at least three or more. In a sense the team gangs up on a patient.
‘The patient may also be forcefully restrained during an exorcism and indeed frequently is.’
Prosecutor Tom Little QC said a handwritten note was also found on Josephine’s bedside reading, ‘don’t go far Galatians 3 1 – Anyone who had bewitched your son or daughter (if you feel your child is under a spell).
‘Pick up earth and throw it to North, South, East, West. Do for four days. After there will be an encounter.’
The relatives are accused of killing Kennedy Ife at a home on this road in in Barnet, North London
Jurors heard that it was only later when police searched the house that they found cable ties, hand cuffs and rope, which were found in the bin and under a sofa.
‘They had been deliberately moved before the arrival of paramedics,’ Mr Little said.
‘More significantly was what was Found in the rear garden of the neighbouring property.
‘In that garden was a black and white Adidas bag, which contained a number of items used to restrain Kennedy or were going to be used to restrain Kennedy.’
These included a pair of clad rigid handcuffs, 379 cable ties and two blue wrist bands, the court heard.
Jurors were shown how the bag had been thrown into an overgrown wilderness amongst branches and leaves in their next-door neighbour’s garden.
‘The evidence reveals the duration of the imprisonment and the potential intended duration that would have continued if not for Kennedy’s tragic death.’
The trial continues.
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