British man stabbed to death during psychedelic ceremony in Peru

Witnesses said Unais Gomes attacked a Canadian man on Wednesday night

Peru, jungle, psychedelic ceremony, British man, Unais Gomes, stabbed, Madre de Dios

A 2014 aerial photo shows tailings in La Pampa district produced by informal mining in Peru's Madre de Dios region in Peru | Image: Rodrigo Abd / AP/Press Association Images

A British man has been stabbed to death during a hallucinogenic ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon.

A Canadian man is in custody after killing the Briton, Unais Gomes (26) in apparent self-defence on Wednesday night.

Witnesses said Mr Gomes attacked the Canadian, 29-year-old Joshua Andrew Freeman-Stevens, with a knife after suffering a bad trip.

The pair had been drinking a hallucinogenic plant brew known as ayahuasca at a spiritual retreat near the jungle city of Iquitos.

Ayahuasca, which is a combination of an Amazonian vine and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), gives users a psychedelic experience although it is not normally associated with violence.

"It might be folkloric, spiritual or whatever else, but that doesn't mean it isn't a drug that dramatically alters your state of mind," police chief Normando Marques said.

A local police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr Gomes is believed to have used a knife from the kitchen of a nearby alternative health centre to attack Mr Stevens.

Mr Stevens allegedly used the same knife to kill Mr Gomes, stabbing him in the chest and stomach, the source said.

Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is used by Amazonian tribes in Peru and Brazil as a spiritual or medicinal tool.

Dozens of jungle retreats offer the brew to tourists.

In 2012 an American teen died after drinking ayahuasca during a ritual in the Madre de Dios jungle region of Peru.

A shaman later admitted trying to cover up the death by burying him in the grounds of the retreat.