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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 21:54 GMT
Judgement day for German Satanists
Manuela Ruda
Manuela had fangs specially fitted
By the BBC's Rebecca Jones in Berlin

A German couple who say they killed their friend on the orders of the devil are due to be sentenced on Thursday, concluding a case which has rocked the country.

Daniel Ruda, 26, and his wife Manuela, 23, admit killing Frank Haagen, but say they were not responsible for his death.

His body was found decomposing in the couple's flat in Bochum, in the west of the country, last July.

He had been battered to death with a hammer and was covered in dozens of stab wounds.

A scalpel protruded from his stomach and a pentagram, the sign of the devil, was carved into his chest.

Confessions

The couple went on the run for a week after killing Mr Haagen, 33, who had worked with Mr Ruda.

Manuela Ruda
Manuela was not always interested in the Satan scene
They were arrested after being spotted at a petrol station in the eastern town of Jena.

They confessed to the killing, but deny they are murderers.

"I got the order to sacrifice a human for Satan," Daniel Ruda told the court in a statement.

Manuela Ruda said: "It was not murder. It was the execution of an order. Satan ordered us to. It simply had to be. We wanted to make sure that the victim suffered well."

Mrs Ruda, who is tattooed and has an upside down cross shaved into the side of her hair, told the Court she became a Satanist in Britain.

She described drinking blood from volunteers she met over the Internet.

"I was in England and Scotland, met people and vampires in London. We went out at night, to cemeteries, in ruins and in the woods. I also slept on graves and even allowed myself to be buried in a grave to test the feeling," she said.

"I signed over my soul to Satan two and a half years ago."

Leniency

The case has attracted sensational coverage in the German media.

Daniel Ruda
Daniel: I got the order from Satan
The couple have appeared in court dressed in black, posing for photographers and making rude gestures to the packed public gallery.

Mr Haagen's family has called for the couple to be jailed for life.

But the prosecution argues the pair showed diminished responsibility, recommending Daniel Ruda serve 14 years in a secure psychiatric unit, and his wife serve 12 years.

Prosecutor Dieter Justinsky told the court the couple are "not the monsters" portrayed in the media, but "deeply disturbed characters."

The defence argues they should be given more lenient sentences, on the grounds of mental instability.

During the trial, several witnesses testified the couple suffered from personality disorders.

See also:

19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Robbie video banned for 'Satanism'
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