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Bride of Satan confessed to blood drinking murder; Says Scotland's Leopard Man.

Byline: SIMON HOUSTON EXCLUSIVE

ISLAND hermit Tom Leppard yesterday denied practising devil worship with a German Satanist now on trial for murder.

But the former Gordon Highlander said self-styled Bride of Satan Manuela Ruda, who he met two years ago on Skye, had written to him confessing to the killing.

Leppard - who spent pounds 5500 on having his entire body tattooed with leopard spots - said: "I was shaken to read her letters and sense the degrading change in her.

"She did not seem to care about what she had done. She said she and her husband had been told to do it."

Ruda, 23, and her husband Daniel are on trial in Bochum, Germany, for the ritual murder of his friend Frank Hacki, 33.

It is claimed they murdered him with 66 machete blows and drank his blood at an altar topped with skulls before having sex in a coffin.

In court, Ruda claimed she had drunk blood with members of occult groups in Edinburgh before moving to Skye and meeting Leppard.

But yesterday, Leppard angrily denied her court claims that she had lived with him in his remote retreat or that they had been involved in any rituals together.

He added: "I have no idea how these claims have come about."

Leppard, who has custom-made fangs to complete his look and is recognised as the world's most- tattooed man, said friends on Skye told him Ruda had a crush on him.

He added: "I would never have noticed. I am so self-centred.

"I don't really want any bonds with anyone. I like the simple life and that would be complicated."

Leppard, who lives in a roofed, dry-stone sheep enclosure on a wild shore near Kyleakin, is liked by locals and arrives by canoe once a week to shop and collect his pension.

He claims he met Ruda when she worked in a Kyleakin hotel bar and she then visited him four times in his cave, apparently fascinated by his way of life.

He added: "I liked her. She seemed different, if maybe slightly odd. She was an intelligent, focused young woman with varied interests.

"She was friendly and polite and we walked and went fishing together."

Ruda began writing to him after she returned to Germany - and told him of Hacki's death.

He said: "I never keep letters or photos, things like that.

"She also said she had taken an interest in body piercing and she had been playing in a heavy metal band.

"But the language in the letters did not sound like her. How could I put it? She used rougher words.

"She certainly seemed to have changed and she didn't seem to care about what she had done. She said she and her husband had been told to do it.

"I wrote back and asked her to think about what she was doing to her parents. And what about the victim?"

Leppard said he acknowledged his bizarre appearance could make some people believe Ruda's claims, adding: "I was warned when I did it that I'd be considered a non-person and I suppose that is true.

" My tattoos haven't changed me but they've changed the views people have of me."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 22, 2002
Words:533
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