The court heard that Kennedy was tied up with cable ties, rope and handcuffs by his parents and five brothers as they carried out a form of “exorcism” on the “vulnerable” 26-year-old at home in Enfield, north London in August 2016.
The suspects which include Kennedy’s parents, Kenneth and Josephine, and five brothers Roy, Harry, Colin, Samuel and Daniel were arraigned before an Old Bailey after being accused of manslaughter.
“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” Prosecutor Tom Little QC said.
Jurors were further told that when the Nigerian man Kennedy showed signs of illness in August 2016, he was ‘indirectly’ killed by his family in the UK who believed he had become possessed by evil spirits and decided to restrain him. However the family has long pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges of manslaughter.