The war criminal, his wife and the new girlfriend

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The revelations keep coming. After news of the dramatic capture of Radovan Karadzic and his astonishing disguise as the spiritual healer Dragan Dabic, the Serbian capital was abuzz with the discovery of a secret love – a dark-haired women nicknamed Mysterious Mila.

"Radovan was a guru in love," blared one headline. Journalists at Healthy Life magazine, for which Dr Dabic penned an irregular column, said that Mila accompanied him to almost every lecture and seminar that he gave around the country on alternative therapies.

"She behaved as his wife. They held hands, or walked embracing," said Tanja Jovanovic, from the magazine. "We never knew her full name... Whenever our car picked him up, he wanted to know if there was a seat for her. Otherwise he would not go. He said she was the love of his life."

Mr Karadzic married his real wife, Ljiljana, a fellow psychiatrist with whom he had two children, in Sarajevo.

Mila was real enough but it seems he created a whole fictional branch of his family tree living overseas. One visitor to Dr Dabic's apartment in New Belgrade described seeing a framed photograph of four boys, all dressed in yellow LA Lakers T-shirts, who Mr Karadzic said were grandsons in America.

And the torrent of scintillating details about his underground life continued yesterday. His favourite drinking hole was revealed to be Madhouse, a tavern in New Belgrade, which had large photographs of Mr Karadzic and his war crimes co-indictee Ratko Mladic on a shelf above the bar.

The bar's owner, Misko Kovijanic, was born in a village down the road from Mr Karadzic and said the former Bosnian Serb leader had been a regular in his establishment for more than a year. The fugitive slugged his way through Serbian plum brandy – slivovitz – and enjoyed the in-house entertainment of the gusle, the traditional one-string instrument of the Balkans, even playing himself on one occasion. "I'm very proud that he came to my pub, and I'm very sad that he was arrested," Mr Kovijanic said.

Although enjoying a drink and a song, Mr Karadzic remained devout, even in hiding, fasting every Wednesday and Friday, and on all big Orthodox holidays. Many of the people treated by Dr Dabic the spiritual healer were reluctant to speak publicly about the procedures he had performed. But one diabetic elderly woman confided: "He was doing that thing – you know – movements of hands above my body, typical bioenergy."

Psychologists said Mr Karadzic's fugitive life was further proof of his irresistible urge to attract attention. "He changed his social and physical identity, but did not change the psychological one," said Leposava Kron from Institute of Criminology. The lectures on spiritual healing all fed into his extrovert cravings.

"It would be a kind of psychological suicide for him not to address the public and hear applause," Ms Kron said. "I think he really enjoyed it. He remained what he was. He has not become a multiple personality. He knows all the time who he really is." Some light was also shed on Mr Karadzic's distinctive disguise – the long white locks, worn in a plaited topknot. "This is how I receive energy," was the explanation the so-called Dr Dabic gave one acquaintance who asked him about his hairdo.

As a fuller picture emerged of his life as a fugitive, one person who was more shocked than most was the Belgrade writer Mirjana Djurdjevic, who found life imitating her fiction.

In her novel The First, Second and Third Man Djurdjevic put one of the most wanted men in the world into a Belgrade clinic where he worked as a psychiatrist.

"Of course I knew nothing about him. Putting him into a psychiatric office came as the result of my common sense," the novelist said on Serbian television. "I just tried to make an irony on the long-lasting hunt for Karadzic. It's often said that literature imitates reality, but now it came the other way round."

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