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British tourist 'stabbed to death at Peru retreat'

Published 19/12/2015

A British tourist has died in Peru
A British tourist has died in Peru

A British tourist has allegedly been stabbed to death in Peru after he and his attacker shared a hallucinogenic drink.

The man, named in reports as Unais Gomes, 25, died on Wednesday near the town of Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon.

A 29-year-old Canadian man, Andrew Freeman, has been arrested over his death, which is understood to have happened at the Phoenix Ayahuasca retreat near the town of Iquitos.

The former City banker was killed after he attacked his friend with a knife during a spiritual ceremony in which they drank the hallucinogenic cocktail ayahuasca, a local police official said.

Mr Freeman has been released from police custody, according to Canadian media.

CBC Canada quoted him as saying: "I loved Unais. I'm quite sore ... and beat up bad ... filled with extreme sorrow. But I'm alive and thankful."

A neighbour of Mr Gomes told the Daily Telegraph: "He was very spiritual, it was a very big part of his life and he was very dedicated to it. It really is very sad, he was such a kind person."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Peru on 16 December 2015.

"We are in contact with the local authorities and are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is used by indigenous tribes in South America as a cure for minor illnesses.

It is also used by tourists looking for its mind-altering properties and has been linked to other deaths.

According to its website, the centre the pair had been staying at describes itself as a "shamanic healing retreat".

Typical ceremonies can last up to five hours and participants are told not to eat dinner before the night-time ritual. The ayahuasca, referred to as "medicine", is said to take effect within 40 minutes.

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