12 January 2004
KASSEL – Self-confessed gay cannibal Armin Meiwes was a polite and mild-mannered mama’s boy who nonetheless casually talked about “gruesome mutilation pictures” he had found while surfing the internet, a childhood friend told a court in Germany Monday.
The witness, who had known Meiwes since schoolboy days in their village in central Germany, said he had long been aware that the defendant was homosexually inclined.
As youths they had stumbled across “a cache of pictures of naked men” while playing in the attic of the rambling Meiwes family farmhouse, the witness said.
“Armin was very chagrined when those pictures tumbled out of a cardboard box,” the witness said. “I realised then that he must have hidden them there himself to keep them away from his mother’s prying eyes.”
Further proof of Meiwes’ same-sex tendencies came a few years later when Meiwes spontaneously kissed the friend and professed love for him.
More recently, when the witness and his wife visited Meiwes, he produced “gruesome mutilation pictures” he had found on the internet and told his visitors: “You wouldn’t believe some of the things you can find on the web.”
After several drinks, Meiwes went on to say he had been in contact with a man on an internet chat room “who keeps badgering me to kill him and cut him up like a slaughtered pig”.
After sobering up, Meiwes fervently urged his boyhood friend to forget what he had told him, the witness testified.
The witness said Meiwes was firmly under the thumb of his mother, Waltraud Meiwes, who ordered him about the house “like a drill sergeant” and who chaperoned him on his rare dates with women and who even insisted on accompanying him on field exercises when he was in the military.
“The other soldiers in his company thought that was pretty weird, to say the least,” the witness testified.
In other court testimony the victim, 43-year-old Bernd-Juergen Brandes, was described by one of his former lovers as cheerful and showing no signs of depression ahead of his fateful encounter with Meiwes on 8 March 2001.
“Bernd-Juergen had absolutely no suicidal thoughts and had no crises or major problems of any kind,” testified the witness, who added that he and Brandes were making plans for their summer holidays when he suddenly vanished in March.
Because Germany has no law against cannibalism, Meiwes is charged with murder “for sexual satisfaction” and “disturbing the peace of the dead” in the death of Brandes.
His defence is pressing for a lesser charge of “killing on demand” which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence and is normally applied in cases of “mercy killing”. Meiwes contends his victim had wanted to be killed and was aware of his fate.
Meiwes was tracked down and arrested in December 2002 after police became aware of an advertisement he had placed on the Internet looking for volunteers willing to be killed and eaten.
Thousands of pornographic pictures depicting acts of violence and torture were also found at the house near the town of Rotenburg, south of Kassel.
One police witness said prosecutors were investigating another man who was allegedly plotting an act of cannibalism.
The trial continues. Sentencing is expected on 30 January.
Subject: German news