Cult leader `had chemicals'

Spanish police said yesterday that they had found poisonous chemicals at the home of an alleged doomsday cult leader which they believe were to be used in a mass suicide by her 32 followers.

Police spokesman Juan Antonio Perez said the German psychologist Heide Fittkau-Garthe, who was arrested on Wednesday when police foiled the suspected suicide plot, had "brainwashed" her disciples and they would need to be "de-programmed". The group had planned to kill themselves at the top of Tenerife's Teide volcano.