London - A lecturer specialising in vampires may have inspired ‘blood-tasting’ after a class, according to a claim before an employment tribunal.
A fellow academic says it was reported to her that a student cut herself and her blood was wiped up and licked by someone else.
The incident – said to have taken place after a class by psychology lecturer Dr Emyr Williams – is among claims made by Helen Coleman, who is suing Glyndwr University in Wrexham over work-related stress.
Psychology lecturer Dr Williams is said to have offered to introduce students to a community of ‘real-life vampires’.
The bizarre allegations have been lodged with an employment tribunal on behalf of Miss Coleman, ahead of a hearing in Cardiff next month.
But a source close to Dr Williams, who denies the allegations made by Miss Coleman, said of the supposed blood-tasting: "It never happened."
Georgina Calvert-Lee, Miss Coleman’s barrister, said: "This is an extraordinary case. We have never dealt with anything like this before."
Miss Calvert-Lee, of London-based McAllister Olivarius chambers, declined to discuss the allegations in further detail.
She added: "The case is at a very early stage. Papers have been lodged and the first hearing is due to take place next month, which will set the timetable for the full tribunal."
The university has denied that Miss Coleman was treated badly. She told The Sunday Times: "All I’ve ever been concerned about is the health and safety of students."
The 41-year-old was working with Dr Williams as an academic in Glyndwr’s psychology department but is now in a non-teaching role covering students’ pastoral care.
Dr Williams, 34, co-authored a study on the history and portrayal of vampires, from Nosferatu to The Twilight Saga, which was published in the Journal of Dracula Studies.
He has described vampirism as a non-traditional religious belief – and three years ago the academic claimed that there were up to 15 000 vampires alive in Britain.
Dr Williams, who specialises in the psychology of religion, claimed that the vampires ‘drink blood and drain energy from people, but their well-established laws mean they know who it can and can’t be taken from’.
He previously said he became interested in the subject after reading about vampires as a student at Bangor University in North Wales.
Three years ago, he appealed for vampires to come forward to be studied for the first online academic survey in the UK of the phenomenon.
The same year, he appeared on ITV’s This Morning alongside a married couple from South Wales calling themselves Pyretta Blaze and Andy Filth.
The couple said they were members of a vampire society and drank each other’s blood as a way of ‘connecting’ to each other’s souls.
Dr Williams, who has said he is not himself a vampire, described vampirism as a ‘genuine way of life’ and said: "We are talking about a group of individuals who believe they have a psychological need to consume blood. I’m trying to find out about those people who genuinely think they are vampires and genuinely live that lifestyle. I genuinely don’t believe it is linked to mental illness or madness."