Steven Tari After his Arrest

Black Jesus, battered and bruised after his capture by villagers. Picture: The National, PNG

A few years ago I found myself in the jungles of Papua New Guinea listening to an extraordinary story – claims that a mythical tribal ‘messiah’ calling himself Black Jesus was drinking the blood and eating the flesh of his ‘flower girls’.

They were teenagers who were among thousands of his ‘disciples’ who followed him through the jungles as he preached his own form of religion – denying the teachings of the Bible – to the people of remote villages.
This week Black Jesus, 38, was found guilty under his real name, Steven Tari, of raping four of his flower girls, but, despite claims from their relatives that he had also sacrificed young women, he escaped being charged with murder.
Tari’s Christian-influenced cargo cult was first revealed to the world by me in the Daily Mail in 2007 when villagers and police told of the bodies of three ‘flower girls’ being buried in remote parts of the country.
One woman told police that she was present when Tari killed her young daughter by slitting her throat after which he drank her blood.
Interviewed in Madang’s Boen Prison a year later after his dramatic capture, Tari defended his practice in the black arts and of sleeping with young girls who joined his cult, admitting that ‘I got plenty – 430 girls’.
But he added: ‘What I did is under and in line with my religion. It was religious and was not wrong.’
He will be sentenced later this month and police said they expected him to receive a long term in jail.
Black Jesus had gathered more than six thousand disciples as he travelled through villages in jungle-clad mountains, promising people they would receive gifts from heaven if they followed him.
He dressed in long white robes, like Christ, and stood on boulders declaring that he was the modern Jesus and evil would stay away from those who left their homes to follow him through the jungles.
But when word spread that he had sacrificed three young women, drinking their blood and eating part of their flesh as part of his bizarre ceremonies, the devotion of his followers began to turn to fear.
Added to concerns were claims by the relatives of a mother who was said to have fallen under his spell and drank her own daughter’s blood.
My own inquiries in the remote villages of Papua New Guinea heard claims from thee family of 13-year-old Rita Hemen that she had been stripped naked, tied to a crude bed and raped by Tari before having her throat cut.
Her relatives said her blood had been drained into a coconut shell and drunk by Tari and his evil henchmen – and in a final horrific act they had eaten strips of her flesh.
Tari’s wickedness came to an end when he reached the village of Matepi, where he was overpowered while sleeping in a hut.
A church pastor, Paul Makura, said it had been difficult for police to catch Tari as he never stayed long in one place.
‘When he came here we heard that he had killed young women so we put a plan into action. We encouraged him to stay on and when he went to a hut to rest a group of eight villagers broke in, pounced on him and tied him up.’
Heavily armed police who made their way to Matepi found Tari tied to a tree. There was no sign of his bow-and-arrow-carrying bodyguards who, on a previous occasion, had engaged in a fight to the death with police.
Tari was still in possession of what he called his ‘magic rod’ – a knife – and a battered Bible, many of the teachings of which he had denied in his own sermons.
A spokesman for the Lutheran church, which is strongly represented in Papua New Guinea, said: ‘We hope that the passage of time will erase memories of what this evil man has done.’
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Missing in the Philippines, Carole Day

Carole Day - She has Vanished in the Philippines. Picture: Facebook

A British woman has been missing in the Philippines for almost three weeks – and there is no doubt that someone could tell her family, even anonymously, what has happened to her.

Police hold grave fears for 56-year-old mother of two Carole Day, who disappeared in the Philippines during a month in which three UK men have been murdered.
Strawberry-blonde Carole, originally from Stoke on Trent but in recent years a resident of Hong Kong, vanished after checking out of her hotel in Manila on September 12 and police admit they have no clues as to her whereabouts or what could have happened to her.
The widow of a British High Court judge who was based in Hong Kong, Carole had travelled to the Philippines to meet contacts in the interior design and furniture business.
A former long distance runner and model, she had been due to fly to Thailand on September 12 but did not arrive at Manila airport and there has been no word of her since.
Mrs Day’s 25-year-old son Jai, who has flown to Manila to help national police in the hunt for his mother, told me in a phone call that he and his 21-year-old brother Jamie were ‘extremely worried’ because there had been absolutely no news.
Their father, Justice Richard Day, died six years ago and their mother had kept in constant touch with her sons whenever she travelled.
‘She’s the kind of person who phones several times a day to see how things are,’ said Jai.
‘She gave us no sign that anything was untoward.’
Carole was last seen at a furniture showroom in Manila on September 12.
She had then been due to fly to Phuket, in Thailand’s south, before flying to Hong Kong for a friend’s funeral. She was also due to fly to London last week for a wedding.
Jai has been to all the hospitals in Manila and there are no unidentified Western women there.
He said he doubted that his mother had been kidnapped because there had been no ransom demand. The police, however, fear a gang has kidnapped her in order to extract money from her credit card. If that was the case, her fate would hang in the balance.
A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Manila said they had been alerted to Mrs Day’s disappearance. ‘We are giving her family full consular assistance,’ she said.
Three British men have been murdered in the Philippines during September.
The first was Scotsman John Macdonald, 28, who was stabbed to death by the boyfriend of a woman Mr Macdonald had befriended.
Next came the shooting murder of British businessman Anthony Nicolas, 64, from London, who died when he and his wife were ambushed.
Then came the shooting death of sea captain Bruce Jones, 50, who was believed to have been the victim of a gun-running cartel.
Two American men have also been shot dead in the Philippines this month.
Little wonder, then, that fears for Carole grow by the day…
* If you know anything, Jai can be contacted in the Philippines on this number: (+) 63-916-440-2851.
Or send me an email at richardshears.com
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