12:01AM GMT 30 Jan 2008
A former Romanian Orthodox priest has been jailed for seven years for fatally crucifying a young nun during an “exorcism”.
Twenty-three-year-old Irina Cornici was bound and chained to a cross before being starved and denied water for days.
She died of dehydration, exhaustion and suffocation.
Ms Cornici believed that the devil was talking to her, and had previously been treated for schizophrenia. Daniel Corogeanu, the former priest, and four nuns decided in 2005 to undertake the exorcism.
Corogeanu was convicted of murder and sentenced alongside the four nuns in September 2007, but was freed while an appeal took place.
Following the appeal’s failure he was picked up by police in the remote north-eastern part of the eastern European country.
Upon arrest he said he would serve his term if God willed it, according to national news agency Rompres.
While the Romanian Orthodox Church regularly performs exorcism rituals it denounced his methods as “abominable”, and has promised to take steps to prevent anything similar happening in the future, including psychological screening for potential clergy.
Corogeanu had in fact dropped out of training for the priesthood half-way through, but a shortage of suitable candidates meant that he still served as a priest in the Holy Trinity convent, north-east Romania.
He has since been defrocked and the four nuns excommunicated.