A family accused of killing a man during an apparent “exorcism” believed that that he had been possessed by a demon, a court has been told.
He had apparently become unwell two weeks earlier and had complained of pain in his throat and difficulty sleeping.
A few days later Mr Ife apparently complained about a “python or a snake inside him”, the Old Bailey was told.
The court heard that Colin Ife, Kenny’s brother, had told police something “took over” his brother that was “not natural” before relatives decided to restrain him.
In a police interview the 26-year-old said there was “another personality coming through” his brother in the days leading up to his death.
“It’s clear that thing was in him, what we believed was a demon because it was not natural. It was clearly trying to kill him,” he said.
“We had to restrain him for himself. It was clear if we didn’t restrain him, he could have tried to harm people in our family.”
He told officers Mr Ife was hearing voices and had mentioned a joke he made about the number 666 when he was a teenager, “like he was regretting something”.
Colin Ife said his brother seemed to improve at times when the family prayed for him, but added: “At a certain time of night, like a full moon, it would just click.”
He told police the family, who jurors have heard hold deep ”charismatic Christian” beliefs, removed all the knives from the kitchen and decided to restrain Mr Ife when he became aggressive and tried to get into his mother’s bedroom.
“When it got to the violent stage we said, ‘no’, we have got to protect him,” he added.
The court has heard how Harry Ife, 32, called 999 on 22 August saying that his younger brother had been complaining of dehydration.
Paramedics who arrived at the house were told Mr Ife had been behaving abnormally over three days.
Mr Ife was said to have become very agitated and developed breathing difficulties.
Despite efforts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at 10.17am.
While police were at the house Colin Ife allegedly carried out an “attempted resurrection” by chanting and praying for Mr Ife.
The court heard that a post-mortem examination revealed more than 60 injuries on Mr Ife’s body, including a possible bite.
His father, who is based in Nigeria, was found to also have a bite injury on the shoulder while four of the brothers also had minor injuries.
Colin Ife, his parents Kenneth and Josephine, and brothers Roy, Harry, Samuel and Daniel are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of manslaughter.
The seven defendants deny manslaughter, false imprisonment and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult between 19 and 23 August 2016.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC had previously told the court Mr Ife died because “his own family decided that because he had become and remained unwell, he should be restrained”.
“Whether this was some form of exorcism will be a matter for you in due course,” Mr Little said. “In short, the Ife family took the law into their own hands.”
The trial continues.
Additional reporting by PA