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CRIME

Boy, 8, left for dead after ‘exorcism’ by family

An eight-year-old boy was left for dead in a hotel carpark, after his father and aunt attempted an exorcism on him, believing he was possessed by evil spirits, a court on the outskirts of Paris heard this week.

Boy, 8, left for dead after 'exorcism' by family
FIle photo: Mike Fitzsimon

The boy, who was born in Cameroon, was found “cold, frightened and covered in bruises” by a warden at the carpark of a hotel in Yvelines, west of Paris, in the early hours of Saturday morning, French daily Le Parisien reported.

Both the boy’s father, aged 33, and aunt, aged 24, have admitted to beating the child. His aunt told local family division police investigators they attacked the boy and abandoned him because, "he was bewitched”, according to a source quoted by France 3 TV.

The boy himself told investigators that he had suffered physical abuse by his aunt since she arrived from Cameroon at the end of February. The woman had become suspicious of her nephew, and wanted to rid him of “evil spirits”, before baptizing him.

“He was forced to hold out his arms and tilt his head back,” said one police officer. “While his aunt beat him with a bat, his father whipped him with a belt,” the officer told France 3.

The eight-year-old’s mother was reported to have disagreed with the attempted exorcism, but did nothing to prevent the attacks.

The father and aunt were charged on Monday with “acts of violence” and “abandonment of a minor”. The boy himself has been placed with a foster family.

In recent years, Cameroon – where 'practising witchcraft' is outlawed – has experienced an increase in cases of children being violently assaulted and even executed after accusations of demonic possession, according to a 2010 UNICEF report

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CRIME

French tax agent ‘kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit’

A French tax inspector was kidnapped and killed, reportedly while carrying out a tax audit in a village in northern France on Monday evening.

French tax agent 'kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit'

The 43-year-old tax agent died on Monday night in northern France, with local media Actu Pas-de-Calais reporting that he was killed by the man whom he was auditing, who later died by suicide.

Emergency services were called to the small village of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais département of northern France at around 8pm. Upon arriving they found two men dead and a woman, reported to be another employee of the tax office, tied up.

She was not believed to be seriously injured but was treated for shock. 

The public prosecutor released a statement saying that both tax agents “were carrying out an at-home audit to check the accounts” of the local man reported to be a brocanteur (antique dealer), who then “kidnapped them and tied them up.” 

“The accused then killed himself with a firearm,” according to the prosecutor’s office. 

The mayor of Bullecourt, a small village of 250 inhabitants, told AFP that he remembered the accused antique dealer as a “helpful” and “ordinary person” who had “integrated into the village.”

Gabriel Attal, the Public Accounts Minister, issued a statement on Monday evening expressing his condolences and saying that the tax agent “was simply doing his job” and that “today, he did not return.” The minister lamented that the agent was “killed while completing a tax audit.”

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