Family kills girl in cult rite

A 10-year-old Thai girl died after her throat was allegedly repeatedly slashed by her mother, grandmother and two aunts in a ritual to rid her of an evil spirit, police said today.

Prapasorn Jiamcharoen was found dead in a pool of blood with multiple slash wounds to her neck as the women chanted upstairs to a Hindu goddess they had built a cult around, police said.

"We suspected they committed the crime in a trance-like state without even knowing what they have done," Police Colonel Surachai Kuandechakupt told AFP.

He said the women had used a meat cleaver to hack at Prapasorn's throat and hair - which was ceremonially soaked in a bowl - before burning the girl's clothes and mattress.

Colonel Surachai said the women raged at the police who arrested them and accused them of ruining the ceremony at the family home in Ratchaburi province southwest of Bangkok.

The family had boasted of their ability to contact gods and spirits to neighbours, who told police they were too scared to associate with the family, the Bangkok Post reported.

About 95 per cent of Thais are Buddhist but a strong animist tradition remains, with "spirit doctors" who say they can help people get rid of curses and ghosts widespread across the country.