Parents and relatives suffocated a two-year-old child to death by lying on top of her for hours in an attempt to crush an evil spirit they said had consumed her.
Two-year-old Chua Wan Zuen was pinned down under a blanket by eight people during the bizarre ritual.
However, they told police they did not intend to kill the girl – and, incredibly, were spared jail.
A Malaysian court sitting in northern Penang state, fined the parents, an uncle, an aunt and grandmother 10,000 ringgit (£2,000) each after they pleaded guilty to causing Chua's death by negligence. The child's 21-year-old cousin was fined 5,000 ringgit while another cousin, aged 16, was released on probation. Two other participants were not charged.
Forensic doctor Zahari Noorsaid told how the presence of blood in Chua's respiratory system indicated she was still breathing when she was pinned down.
He said it was possible she was pressed down to the floor, as there were injuries on the right side of her face as well as on her hands legs, body, neck and lips.
Police said the family had carried out the exorcism ritual because they believed she was possessed by evil spirits.
When officers raided the house after receiving a distress call from a family member, they found eight people lying on top of the girl in a darkened bedroom, said district police chief Azman Abdul Lah.
She was face down under the human pile and chanting could be heard. Belief in the supernatural is entrenched among Malaysia's Malay, Chinese and ethnic communities, although occult rituals have waned in recent years.
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