A COUPLE who believe they can live on air alone have been convicted of killing a fasting woman for whom they delayed getting medical aid. Jim Vadim Pesnak, 60, and his wife Eugenia Pesnak, 63, both of Beckwith Street, Ormiston, in bayside Brisbane, had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Lani Marcia Roslyn Morris, 53, between June 12 and July 2 last year.
The jury took only three hours to bring in the manslaughter verdicts. The Pesnaks are followers of the breatharian philosophy and believe humans do not need food to survive and can live on air alone.
Ms Morris travelled from her Melbourne home to undertake a 21-day initiation process into breatharianism which involved seven days without any nourishment at all including water, and then a further 14 days on limited liquids.
After a week, Ms Morris appeared to be paralysed down one side, could not talk, was vomiting a black tar-like substance and eventually was so ill she had trouble breathing.
Mr Pesnak stuck a tube down her throat to help her and only hours later, did he call an ambulance.
The Pesnaks gave interviews to police in which they said they believed Ms Morris was undergoing a spiritual blockage, and was not in danger physically.
Ms Morris died on July 1 after being admitted to the Mater Hospital's intensive care unit and being placed on life support.
She had suffered a stroke from severe dehydration, was in a coma, had renal failure, gangrenous feet and breathing problems.
Justice Margaret Wilson is hearing submissions on sentence this afternoon. Prosecutor Charlie Clark has indicated there is no case like this one anywhere in Australia, with the closest comparison being an exorcism which went wrong in Victoria.