'Vampire' couple admit to killing friend in ritual

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The Independent Online

A married couple from Germany who call themselves "vampires" and boast of drinking each other's blood are on trial for murdering a friend in a satanic ritual they say they undertook on the devil's orders.

A married couple from Germany who call themselves "vampires" and boast of drinking each other's blood are on trial for murdering a friend in a satanic ritual they say they undertook on the devil's orders.

The man's decomposing body was found in their flat in the western German town of Bochum last July. The man had been battered to death with hammer blows and sustained 66 knife wounds. A scalpel protruded from his stomach, and a pentagram, the sign of the devil, was carved into his chest.

Manuela Ruda, 23, told the court in Bochum that her husband, Daniel, 26, "struck him on the head twice with the hammer. But he suddenly stood up again and walked towards the television. Then my knife started to glow and I heard the command to stab him in the heart".

Neither of the Rudas has shown any remorse for the murder since the trial opened on Tuesday. Mr Ruda, a car parts salesman, said in a statement read out by his lawyer: "I got the order to sacrifice a human for Satan."

Mrs Ruda dropped out of secondary school in Witten and ended up working in a hotel in Scotland, where her need for solitude was fuelled by the bleak surroundings and frequent visits to cemeteries.

When she returned to Witten with an increasing aversion to daylight, she adopted a full-blown Gothic style, wearing black, lacerated clothes as her alienation from society deepened. She met her future husband after answering his advertisement in the Gothic magazine Metalhammer: "Jet black vampire seeks princess of darkness who hates everything and everybody."

Mr Ruda told the German magazine Stern that the pair drank each other's blood at home. He confessed to fantasising about committing mass murder – but said he would only do so when his parents were dead, to avoid hurting them.

He said he particularly wanted to emulate the deeds of Charles Manson, who killed Sharon Tate, the wife of the film director Roman Polanski, and four other people in California in 1969.

The Rudas went on the run for a week after killing Frank Haagen, 33, who worked with Mr Ruda. During their flight they discussed various means by which they could commit suicide, which included filling their car with petrol and crashing it into a truck. But they could only afford the cheaper and less flammable diesel, so that plan had to be abandoned.

They were arrested after being spotted at a petrol station in Jena, east Germany, after which they confessed to the killing.

During their last week of freedom, Mr Ruda bought a chainsaw, saying he did not want to be empty-handed when the Devil gave him new orders, according to Stern.

When police searched their flat they found imitation human skulls, cemetery lights and a coffin in which Mrs Ruda slept during the day.

The prosecutor told the court that he had never seen a murder scene of such depravity and cruelty. The defence, however, argue that they should be given lenient sentences because they are both mentally disturbed.

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