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12 years for UK vampire slaying

LONDON, England -- A British teenager has been jailed for 12 years for murdering his elderly neighbour and drinking her blood in a vampire ritual.

Vampire-mad art student Mathew Hardman, 17, cut out Mabel Leyshon's heart after stabbing her 22 times at her home in Llanfairpwll, North Wales, last November.

He sliced the 90-year-old's chest open and cut her heart out before wrapping the blood-soaked organ in newspaper and placing it next to two pokers arranged in the shape of a crucifix at her feet, the court was told.

Hardman put the heart into a saucepan containing the pensioner's blood and drank the blood -- believing the ritual would make him immortal, the jury heard.

The teenager was obsessed by vampires and killed Leyshon in a bid to become one of the creatures, the court heard.

He denied any involvement in the murder and said his alleged fascination with vampires was no more than a "subtle interest."

After the jury at Mold Crown Court, Wales, returned its verdict, trial judge Mr Justice Richards lifted an order banning his identification.

Prosecutor Roger Thomas said Hardman committed the murder in a bid to become immortal.

"We submit that in November 2001 he was fascinated by and believed in vampires," Thomas said.

"He believed they existed, believed they drank human blood and believed most importantly that they could achieve immortality -- and he wanted to be immortal."

The murder sent shockwaves through the tourist village of Llanfairpwll PG, best known for having the longest place name in Britain. Its 56-letter full name -- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch -- is so long that locals abbreviate it.

"The injuries are the worst I have seen in my career," Detective Superintendent Alan Jones told reporters after the murder.

North Wales Police deployed a 60-strong murder team who consulted experts in witchcraft and took DNA samples from more than 100 local people.

Six weeks after Leyshon's death, officers searched Hardman's bedroom, where they found a stash of books, magazines and Internet material devoted to vampires.

Among the books was Bram Stoker's Dracula, as well as a hardback library book entitled The Devil: An Autobiography.

Vampire Web sites

Examination of Hardman's computer showed that he had logged on to Web sites including The Vampire Rights Movement and The Vampire/Donor.

The donor site reads: "The site exists to serve all who might be part of vampire community: gothic lifestyle vampires and non-lifestyle vampires alike, energy feeders, sanguinarians (drinkers of blood); donors, would-be donors, and other loved ones."

Hardman, who had turned 17 only a few weeks before the murder, had already dropped a chilling hint of what was to come during a conversation with a teenage German girl student, who was on an exchange visit to Llanfairpwll, the court was told.

He told her that he believed it was "a perfect place for vampires" because there were a lot of old people there, and if any of them died after being bitten it would be assumed that they had had a heart attack.

She said that after talking about "gothic" fashions, vampires and the paranormal he accused her of being "one of them" and begged her to bite his neck so that he too could become a vampire.

By the time he was arrested he had regularly accused locals of being vampires. Hardman had also deliberately punched himself on the nose to draw blood in a bid to "tempt" them to bite him.

Police were called and as an officer handcuffed Hardman he repeatedly yelled "bite my neck, bite my neck."




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