Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Brazil's 'needle boy' out of danger after operation

Boy arrives at Salvador hospital 17.12.09
The boy may have to face future operations

Doctors in Brazil say a two-year-old boy who was pierced with at least 31 sewing needles is out of danger following a third successful operation.

Surgeons in Salvador have decided to not remove the remaining few needles left in the boy for now.

The boy's stepfather Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, 30, has confessed to inserting the needles into the boy's body as part of a black magic ritual.

He said he did it as a means of taking revenge on his wife.

Doctor Roque Aras said the remaining needles were small and posed no significant threat, the Associated Press news agency reported.

'Happy ending'

However the unnamed boy may still have to undergo more operations in the future.

On Monday, doctors took out four needles from the child's neck.

In an earlier three-hour operation, surgeons took out 14 needles piercing the boy's liver, bladder and intestines.

Four needles which had come perilously close to his heart and lungs were removed during an initial operation last week.

Surgeon Jose Siqueira said he was optimistic following the third surgery, AFP reported.

An X-ray of the Brazilian boy's body with needles inside
X-rays showed more than 30 sewing needles inside the boy

"We think that this child's story will have a happy ending", he said.

Mr Magalhaes told Brazil's Globo TV that he inserted the needles one at a time, up to three times in a month.

He said he got the boy drunk before driving the needles in.

Mr Magalhaes, 30, and his lover Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos have been formally charged with attempted murder.

Police said Mr Magalhaes, a bricklayer, told them his mistress had urged him to ritually kill the child to take revenge on his wife.

The boy's mother had taken him to hospital in the north-eastern state of Bahia, suffering from stomach pains and vomiting.

She suspected the child had been the victim of a black magic ritual after she found suspicious objects in the home she shared with Mr Magalhaes - her husband of six months - and her six children.

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