Vampire witch drank blood of street children

Odessa, Ukraine - A woman 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 the children grew weak, 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 flat in the Black Sea port of Odessa after a tip-off.

Olga Buravceva, a police 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 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.

One of the children told police: "She gave me vodka and I sniffed some glue. But then she came up to me with a syringe and asked me to stretch out my hand … She drew the blood with the syringe and a needle and then put it in her silver bowl and drank it, murmuring in some strange language."

Semenuha, who gave her profession as "witch" when she was arrested, 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 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.