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Man confesses to killing Australian missionaries

The Age newspaper is running a repor this morning that one of the men accused of murdering an Australian Christian missionary and his two children confessed yesterday to starting the fire that killed them because he was angry about what he claimed were forced conversions of Hindus. In a crime that shocked India, Graham Staines and his sons, Philip, 8, and Timothy, 10, were killed when a mob set fire to their jeep after dousing it in petrol on January 23, 1999.

Mr Staines and his sons were travelling from their home town of Baripada to Keonjhar, in the eastern state of Orissa, and had made an overnight stop at Manohapur village. They were sleeping in the car because of cold weather.

The three tried to escape the fire but a 50-strong mob, armed with axes, allegedly blocked them and watched as they burnt to death.

Villagers who tried to save them were attacked by the crowd.

The Age