Satanist couple jailed for killing


GERMANY: A couple who said the Devil made them stab a man 66 times in a satanic ritual killing have been found guilty of murder after a trial that shocked Germany.

The satanist couple admitted killing Mr Frank Hackerts (33) in a satanic ritual involving knives, hammers and machetes in their apartment last July. The couple said they were responding to a request from the Devil to "send him souls". Yesterday a court in Bochum sentenced Daniel (26) and Manuela Ruda (23) to 15 and 13 years in prison respectively, followed by an unspecified term in a secure psychiatric clinic.

The couple, who remained impassive during the sentencing, have become a tabloid sensation in Germany. Mr Ruda spent most of the trial making satanic hand gestures at the media. His colourful wife Manuela, who drinks blood, sleeps in a coffin and says she is a vampire, asked for the trial to take place in dim light because she says she is sensitive to daylight. Instead, she was allowed to wear dark glasses.

"We wanted to release his soul from the hateful flesh, so that he can serve satan. It was in his own best interest. We only followed orders," she said of the killing in a written statement. She told how the couple invited Mr Hackerts, a work colleague of her husband, to her apartment in Witten, east of Bochum, last July.

"Hackerts was always so funny," said Mr Ruda in a written statement, saying that he seemed like the perfect candidate for "court jester" to the Devil.

He said he hit Mr Hackerts over the head with a hammer and Ms Ruda said she heard an order to "stab him in heart", which she did.

Medical evidence suggests the victim was stabbed 66 times with everything from a carpet cutter to a machete. The couple suffer from "narcissictic personality disorders", according to a court psychologist, and are unlikely to be freed.