A cannibal cult leader calling himself Black Jesus, who slaughtered his ‘Flower Girl’ followers and drank their blood, has himself been murdered in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
In flowing robes, Stephen Tari, 40, a failed Bible student, once led 6,000 ‘disciples’ through the mountainous regions of the country, but was accused of killing at least three young girls and, as their mothers were forced to watch, drinking their blood.
Calling himself ‘the true Christ’, he was convicted of only rape three years ago – before the country brought in new laws that meant convicted killers and rapists could receive the death penalty – and was among 48 prisoners who broke out of jail six months ago.
‘Black Jesus’: Notorious cult leader Stephen Tari after he was captured in Papua New Guinea in 2007
Since then he has been on the run with a handful of faithful followers, but his bizarre life came to an end when he was said to have murdered a village woman this week and attempted to take the life of another.
Surrounded by furious villagers on Thursday, he is believed to have been beaten and hacked to death, along with one of his henchmen in the remote village of Gal in the northern province of Madang.
A special investigation by the Daily Mail six years ago heard from three women who said they had witnessed Tari drinking their murdered daughters’ blood in bizarre sacrificial ceremonies in village huts as he led his followers through the jungle.
Because of the remote area where he was murdered, police have not been able to establish whether he allegedly murdered a woman because he had started up his former cult and needed more human sacrifices.
Madang provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Sylvester Kalaut told the Post Courier newspaper that the village where Tari met his death is several miles by foot along jungle tracks from the nearest small town.
Capture: The feared Tari was beaten by villagers and tied up before being handed over to the police in 2007
‘We are sending police and a doctor to the village to ascertain the cause of death.
‘The village where he was based is a four hour walk and from advice and given reports of the state of his body, he will have to be buried soon after the post-mortem is conducted,’ said Superintendent Kalaut.
Followers: Tari gathered more than six thousand disciples with his preaching in the jungles (library image)
The police officer warned that other prisoners who remain on the run and who might be associated with Tari should give themselves up.
‘He is now dead and this could be the fate of the others who are also on the run from the authorities. I am warning and strongly urging those escapees to surrender themselves to authorities.’
At the height of his infamy, Black Jesus wore long white robes as he stood on a rock in a jungle clearing and preached his own kind of gospel to his disciples. He told the crowds that they would receive gifts from heaven if they followed him.
But behind his preachings was evil intent. Luring young females he called his Flower Girls into huts, he cut their throats and consumed their blood, mothers testified later.
One woman said she was ordered to drink her own daughter’s blood on one occasion.
Police were unable to capture him, despite knowing where he was because of the constant the presence of his large ‘flock’ – he was guarded by henchmen who carried rifles, spears and bows and arrows.
But villagers finally carried out a ‘citizens’ arrest’ in 2007 and Tari was eventually jailed.
Now, it is village power once again that has brought an end to his warped teachings. It is expected he will be buried near the small jungle community where he was killed.