The young married couple who claimed Satan had ordered them to kill.
Pitch-black vampire seeks princess of darkness who hates everything and everyone.
These were the words of a lonely-hearts advert in a German heavy-metal magazine that brought together Daniel Ruda, 26, and his future wife, Manuela. It was a match made in hell.
Manuela, 23, was certainly the ‘princess of darkness’ that Daniel was looking for. She’d hang out in graveyards, drinking blood donated from people she’d met online. She’d had two of her teeth removed and replaced with long animal-like fangs, and claimed she’d learned to drink blood from a human without piercing an artery.
They married on the 6th day of the 6th month to honour the number of the beast, 666. And it was on 6th July 2001 that the couple’s dabbling in the occult turned deadly. They said they’d had orders to kill, from Satan. The victim the Rudas selected was a workmate of Daniel’s, Frank Hackert, 33. Frank was a mild-mannered man who loved The Beatles. The couple would later say that they’d chosen him as their sacrificial victim because he was ‘so funny and would be the perfect court jester for Satan’.
It was a brutal slaying. After luring Frank to their flat in Witten, Germany, Daniel and Manuela Ruda attacked him repeatedly with a hammer. Manuela later said, ‘Then my knife started to glow and I heard the command to stab him in the heart.’ Frank Hackert was stabbed 66 times. The couple carved a pentagram into his chest and drank his blood before fleeing.
Frank Hackert’s butchered body was found at the couple’s home under a banner reading When Satan Lives. Inside the couple’s home, police discovered fake human skulls, and a coffin where Manuela would sleep. There was also a list of 16 other potential victims. A manhunt was on and, one week later, Daniel and Manuela Ruda were arrested.
Standing trial in 2002, Daniel and Manuela Ruda both admitted that they’d killed Frank Hackert, but denied murder. Manuela said, ‘It was not murder… Satan ordered us to. It simply had to be.’ Daniel explained that he’d been acting as a tool for Satan at the time of the attack.
‘If you run someone over with a car, you don’t prosecute the car,’ he told the court.
Throughout the trial, the couple played up to the media, flashing smiles at journalists, rolling their eyes and making offensive hand symbols. Both dressed flamboyantly, and Manuela had long claw-like fingernails and an upside-down cross shaved into her hair. They seemed to relish the attention.
But when the judge announced their fate, neither of the Rudas showed any emotion. Frank Hackert’s family had requested that both killers be sentenced to life in prison. But the judge said the couple were ‘humans not monsters’ and sent them to psychiatric hospitals, rather than jail. Daniel Ruda was committed for 15 years, and Manuela for 13 years.
They remained unrepentant and Manuela’s final gesture to the court was a satanic sign made with her hands, while Frank Hackert’s grieving parents looked on.