German court gives cannibal life term for murder

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2006, FRANKFURT - The German cannibal, Armin Meiwes, 44, who killed and ate a man in 2001, was sentenced to life in prison for murder at his retrial on Tuesday.

9 May 2006

FRANKFURT  - The German cannibal, Armin Meiwes, 44, who killed and ate a man in 2001, was sentenced to life in prison for murder at his retrial on Tuesday.

Meiwes had told the court that his victim, a Berlin engineer, had begged to be killed and eaten in a grisly ceremony that was captured on video at Meiwes' farmhouse in March 2001. The cannibal froze the body parts and gradually defrosted them to dine on later.

Evidence at the trial suggested that the victim, Bernd Juergen Brandes, 43, may have earlier had masochistic fantasies about falling into the clutches of a cannibal. He made his will before leaving Berlin.

At a 2004 trial in the city of Kassel, Meiwes, who was arrested after advertising for new victims on the Internet, received eight and a half years in jail for manslaughter, but an appeal court ruled this was too little in a case that shocked the world.

At the retrial, the conviction was upgraded to the harsher charge of murder, but he can apply for parole after 15 years.

The bizarre case posed a legal conundrum because Germany has no law against cannibalism between consenting adults.

Judges said Meiwes' private motivation made the case murder, regardless of the victim's desires. Cannibalism was a source of sexual gratification for Meiwes, and the act had also enabled a further offence, the defiling of a dead body.

Meiwes was shown on video as he cut off Brandes' sexual organ and later stabbed him in the throat in his kitchen near the small town of Rotenburg-an-der-Fulda. The two homosexuals had met that day for the first time after exchanging messages online.

Psychiatrists told the court Meiwes was disturbed but not mad, because he understood his own acts.

Last week, prosecutor Marcus Koehler said killing and eating a young man had been Meiwes' dominant sexual fantasy and he had wanted to make this come true and gratify himself later by remembering it.

"He was making a hit film for the movie theatre inside his head," Koehler told the court.

But prosecutors failed to convince the court to categorize the killing as the worst degree of murder, blocking all parole. The court said this did not apply to the case because of the victim's consent.

Defence lawyers said before the verdict that they would appeal if Meiwes was convicted of murder.

DPA

Subject: German News

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