[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Self-styled vampire 'drank blood'
Benjamin Lewis and girlfriend Natalie Gibson
Benjamin Lewis and Natalie Gibson deny tormenting Reverend Rowberry
A man accused of waging a campaign of harassment against a vicar and his family has told a jury he is a reincarnated vampire who has drunk blood.

But Benjamin Lewis, 25, denied targeting Reverend Christopher Rowberry with co-defendant Scott Bower.

Mr Lewis, a hotel porter, Mr Bower, 26, who is unemployed, and Mr Lewis's girlfriend, 19-year-old student Natalie Gibson, all of Totton in Hampshire, deny religiously aggravated harassment.

Mr Lewis said he had howled at the vicar only once, because he was angry that he had shone a torch in his eyes as he drove by the vicarage next to his church St Mary The Virgin, in Eling Hill, Totton.

To them I am a curse, an omen, a lost soul, a freak and all because I believe myself to be a reincarnated vampire
Benjamin Lewis
He told the court: "I am not a Satanist. I identify myself with Jesus Christ because he was put on trial because he was different to anyone else.

"I have been interested in blood drinking - I believe in psychic vampirism.

"I read in the Bible that blood is the life."

Mr Lewis said he was fascinated by vampires, enjoyed visiting graveyards in Hampshire and had tried drinking blood to see what it would do for him.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Eling Hill, Totton
Mr Lewis allegedly left an obscene picture of Christ on the notice board

Mr Lewis told jurors that some of the photos police had found of him and Mr Bower cutting themselves and drinking each other's blood had been real, although others were staged.

In the raid of his house last December police also found an article he had written for a magazine on the occult called Crimson.

In it he said: "I had great trouble with most mortals because I am beyond their earthly understanding.

"To them I am a curse, an omen, a lost soul, a freak and all because I believe myself to be a reincarnated vampire.

"My soul can never die and the flame within my spirit cannot extinguish.

"I am beyond any mortal and I can offer any fantasy, but humans are too blind with envy to see."

The prosecution alleges that the three friends religiously harassed Reverend Rowberry, his wife Karen and children Hannah, 17 and Simon, 15.

They are alleged to have made scores of abusive phone calls, set off fireworks at the vicarage and left obscene pictures, including one of a disembowelled Christ, on a church notice board.

Ms Gibson's mobile phone records showed she made many calls to the vicarage and that a recording made by the vicar was very likely to contain her voice, the court heard.

The case continues.





LINKS TO MORE HAMPSHIRE/DORSET STORIES


 

SEE ALSO:
Vampire fans 'harassed vicar'
09 Oct 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific