Hey everyone. This is an older case, but it was one of the first true crime cases I remember reading about. I have to put a bit of a warning on this one due to mentions of murder and death.
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Daniel Ruda was a German car parts salesman who, along with his wife, Manuela, would go on to murder and mutilate a friend in what he claimed was a sacrifice to Satan.
Daniel Ruda found his path into the Goth and heavy metal scene through the neo Nazi movement that he was a part of in his early twenties. He targeted young, unemployed members of the underground community, and pushed them to incorporate the swastika symbol into their image, promoting the shock value it would have on parents and society. He gave out free concert tickets that featured neo Nazi bands on the line-up and even canvassed for the NPD.
Despite his dedication, Ruda faded out of the skinhead scene and turned his attentions to black metal. He filed his down teeth to points, joined a band called the “bloodsucking freaks” and took part in consented blood drinking as well as what he referred to as satanic rituals.
(Daniel in court)
An old friend of Daniels, a man named Frank Lewa who was part of the skinhead scene, was a witness at the trial. He relayed the details to the court and explained how the two had fallen out of friendship after an argument during a social gathering.
Lewa told the court about the photograph of a bloodied Ruda suspended from hooks that he received in the mail. In the accompanying letter, Ruda accused Lewa of being a traitor.
It also came to light that Daniel had been diagnosed with apersonality disorder at a young age.
Daniel Ruda met his wife after she responded to an advert that he submitted to a metal magazine (Some sources say “Metal Hammer” others say a black metal fanzine).
“Black-haired vampire seeks princess of darkness who despises everything and everybody and has bidden farewell to life.” He wrote.
(Manuela in court)
His princess of darkness responded in the form of a 23 year old woman named Manuela, also a German national, who had just moved back to her small home town in Germany.
Manuela, like Daniel, had also been diagnosed with some mental health issues as a young teen. At 13 years of age she was evaluated after she began biting passing pedestrians in the street. Despite being in contact with a psychiatrist, her problems only seemed to worsen, and just a year later she was having hallucinations and believed that she was in direct contact with the devil himself. Her issues were unbearable; she abandoned her studies and overdosed, but didn’t die.
By sixteen she had run away to the UK and took a job in a Goth club in Islington, London (possibly the Slimelight) which opened its doors from near midnight to dawn.
It is here that she claimed to get an education in vampirism. “It was an apprenticeship” she said. She found blood donors and similar minds who would willingly offer their blood to her to drink and she would return the favor.
During her time in the United Kingdom she also worked in a hotel in Scotland until its winter closure, and enjoyed the gloomy atmosphere and grey skies.
Much in the same vein as the advert Daniel had posted in the metal magazine, Manuela wrote a similar letter to a recluse man that she had read about, informing him that she hated society and requested to live with him. That man was man in his 60’s called Tom Leppard, known locally as “TheLeopard man of the Isle of Skye”; a man who has his entire body tattooed in leopard spots and pre-2006 was recorded as “The most tattooed man in the world” in the Guinness book of world records. Tom Leppard lived alone in a small hut by a lake, and agreed that Manuela could stay with him.
(photo from the guardian)
She returned home in 1998 and would later answer Daniel Ruda’s lonely hearts ad in 2000. The two shared the same hatred for humanity, the same lust for blood and spent nearly all of their time together, with Daniel losing interest in his work. In classic vampire style, they avoided the sunlight and slept in a coffin in a room of candles and skulls.
The following year, safe in knowledge that they were indeed a perfect match, the two registered to marry in 2001 on the 6th day of the sixth month. Manuela was then 23 years old, Daniel, 26.
The following month, in July, on the 6th day, they carried out a premeditated murder by tricking a friend, 33 year old Frank “Hacki” Hackert into coming over to their house for a party. The problem was, that Frank was the only guest, and he wouldn’t be leaving alive. The couple was fond of their friend, he liked the Beatles and they believed that he was amusing and would make a great Jester for the dark lord.
(The couple on court)
Daniel Ruda delivered blows to the back of Hackert's skull, and then proceeded to stab him repeatedly with a knife. One report stated that the method was inspired by the Cannibal Corpse album cover for “hammer smashed face”.
Hackert was stabbed a total of 66 times. The Ruda’s cut his veins and drained his blood, drinking it from small bowls. Hackert’s body was found below text saying “When Satan Lives” (some believe possibly a Deicide reference) mutilated, with an inverted pentagram carved into his chest, and the scalpel sticking out.
The two claimed to hear commands from the Devil and Manuela said she saw the knife glowing as well as Daniel Ruda’s eyes and that there was a definite overwhelming presence in the room. “The room flickered as his soul came out” Manuela said.
One source claims that this plan was inspired by a dream Daniel had, instructing the couple to marry and kill on those exact dates. Reportedly, they were supposed to commit suicide and go to hell following the murder, but instead went on the run, purchasing a chainsaw with the intention of massacre before suicide.
They were caught and arrested before they could kill again, police also found a kill list, with the names of future victims written on it.
Daniel Ruda would later tell his lawyer that he was in it for the fame. He wanted everybody to know him, he wanted to be as famous as Charles Manson and that meant he would have to kill, he allegedly stated.
Manuela requested the court room windows to be blacked out, but the request was denied. She was allowed to wear sun glasses throughout the trial, claiming sensitivity to sunlight as she never went out during the day as she was a vampire.
The two showed no remorse during the trial. They threw up the horns, stuck out their tongues, laughed, chewed gum and stared at the victim’s mother. Both claimed that they were not guilty, and that they were only vehicles for Satan to do his work.
“If I kill a person with my car and half his bloody head is left on my bumpers, it is not the car that goes to jail it is the driver who is evil. I have nothing to repent, because I did nothing.” He went on to write abook about his innocence while incarcerated.
The couple was not awarded life sentences for their crimes, as they were deemed mentally ill with “severe narcissistic personality disturbances”.
They received sentences of 13 and 15 years in secure units after finally admitting to the crime, but still claimed that they were not responsible.
Manuela has since been released from prison and has no contact with Daniel.
"Couples who kill" (Book) [ X ]
Article from the Guardian [ X ]
Daniels book on Amazon [ X ]
German Wikipedia page about the crime [ X ]