By Bojan Pancevski and Viktoria Buralenko in Odessa
A vampire has been arrested in Ukraine after luring street children into her home for their blood.
Diana Semenuha, 29, believed that drinking blood could fend off a muscle-wasting condition.
She kept the children intoxicated on drugs and alcohol and bled them regularly, selling the surplus to other black magic practitioners. When that weakened them, she dumped them back on the streets and lured replacements with the promise of a place to sleep and a hot meal.
Police raided Semenuha's apartment in the Black Sea port of Odessa after a tip-off.
Olga Buravceva, a spokesman, said: "The apartment was painted black, with all the windows covered with thick black cloth to stop natural light coming in. The only light came from black candles, and there was a heavy, sickening odour of some sort of incense in the air."
Detectives found seven drugged children strapped to beds and benches, and a large, black knife and silver goblet engraved with satanic symbols.
Ukraine has an estimated 200,000 street children, whose widespread addiction to glue sniffing and alcohol made them easy prey for the woman dubbed the "vampire witch" by local media.
Semenuha's arrest exposed an occult network in the city. Many claimed to have been taught by Semenuha and said that she would cut herself and let them drink her blood.
One of the children, named only as Andrei, told police: "She gave me vodka and I sniffed some glue. But than she came up to me with a syringe and asked me to stretch out my hand. I didn't feel any pain because I was too scared. She drew the blood with the syringe and a needle and than put it in her silver bowl and drank it, murmuring in some strange language."
Semenuha, who when arrested gave her profession as "witch", has admitted holding the children. "I let them sniff glue, but I paid for it and took a small amount of blood in return," she said. "But there was no violence involved, I also fed them and gave them shelter."
Police fear that she could escape prosecution for corrupting minors and plying them with alcohol because the seven children found at her home have since escaped from care and gone back on the streets.
-- Source: http://telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/03/wukr03.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/07/03/ixworld.html