German cannibal guilty of murder


May 9, 2007

A German man who killed and ate an apparently willing victim has been sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of murder.

Armin Meiwes, 44, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in 2004 after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Bernd Juergen Brandes.

But a judge ordered a retrial after ruling the sentence was too lenient.

During the retrial, prosecutors said Meiwes, of Rotenburg, had a "fetish for human flesh" and could re-offend.

This has been one of the most extraordinary trials in German criminal history, says the BBC's Tristana Moore in Berlin

At the retrial, the prosecution made a graphic case that Meiwes was guilty of murder and argued he should never be released from prison.

A psychologist said Meiwes, who had admitted he still had fantasies about devouring the flesh of attractive young people, could reoffend.

A video which Meiwes filmed during the acts of cannibalism was central to the prosecution's case.

It said the video proved that Meiwes killed his victim for his own sexual pleasure.

Meiwes's lawyer admitted his client had a fetish for human flesh, but claimed he was no danger to society.

Mr Brandes, a 43-year-old computer engineer, apparently agreed to the idea of being eaten after making contact with his killer on an internet chatroom. This led the court to convict Meiwes of the less serious charge of manslaughter at his trial in 2004.

The pair met at Meiwes's home in Rotenburg in March 2001, where they had sex before Meiwes cut off Brandes's penis, which the men then cooked and attempted to eat.

Meiwes later stabbed and killed Brandes, before cutting him to pieces and freezing parts of his body, some of which he later ate.