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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
African healer jailed over death
Map of Burkina Faso
Linda Hien met her husband in Burkina Faso
A paranoid African healer has been jailed for five years for beating his English wife to death with an iron pole at their Devon home.

Hibiekoun Hien, 53, of Plymouth Road, Buckfastleigh, admitted manslaughter of Linda Hien, formerly MacDonald, at an earlier hearing at Exeter Crown Court.

Hien, originally from Burkina Faso, told the court he believed his wife was going to sell him to buy another car.

His 53-year-old wife's body was found at Plymouth Road on 20 October, 2004.

He thought he was going to be sold
Geoffrey Mercer QC, prosecuting

Alternative therapist Mrs Hien met her future husband after going to Burkino Faso to learn more about traditional healing techniques.

He was a village elder and a healer and spirit medium in the local Dagara religion.

She married him in Africa to make it possible for them to live together at her terraced home in the Dartmoor town.

Mr Justice Steel described the case as extraordinary, saying Hien's attack on his wife seemed to be connected to his arrival in the UK and "enormous cultural gap" that involved.

"You appear to have become totally paranoid," the judge told Hien, who had an interpreter to translate the proceedings into his native Djoula language.

The judge said Hien feared "quite irrationally that people including his wife were trying to kill you, and your wife was going to sell you".

His wife had accepted the sensible course was for him to return to Africa but, in the short delay in obtaining a ticket, Hien killed her.

The judge recommended that Hien be deported to Burkina Faso when he was eligible for release.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Mercer QC said Hien was a respected elder and healer in his home village.

'Substantial confusion'

The couple married last August, returning that month to live in Buckfastleigh, where they provided spiritual healing for others.

But Hien began to suffer from "substantial mental confusion" adjusting to life in Buckfastleigh.

"He believed people had been brought to kill him, and thought he was going to be sold," said counsel.

Hien killed his wife with two blows with a heavy iron bar as she lay on the sofa at their home, suffering a fractured skull and multiple facial fractures.

A friend of the couple found him in pain on the doorstep of the house, and he was taken to a doctor, then to hospital, suffering rib fractures.

He later said that his wife was dead at home.

Hien told police he had struck his wife after an argument, then jumped out of a window.


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