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'I wanted to eat, not kill him'

A self-confessed German cannibal said at his retrial on Monday that a man found cut into pieces and partly eaten at his house had asked him to kill him.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 15:35 IST

A self-confessed German cannibal said at his retrial on Monday that a man found cut into pieces and partly eaten at his house had asked him to kill him.

Armin Meiwes, 44, told the court in Frankfurt that once he had cut off his victim's penis, with the man's consent, Meiwes had hoped he would die of blood loss or throw himself to his death from a window.

"I wanted to eat him, but I didn't want to kill him," he said.

In a case which has gripped and appalled Germany, Meiwes is facing murder charges after a federal judge dismissed the original January 2004 verdict of manslaughter and an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence as too lenient.

The accused described in detail how he had made contact with 43-year-old Berlin engineer Bernd Juergen Brandes on the Internet by entering the words "slaughter victim" in an Internet search engine.

Meiwes said that before the two men had even met, Brandes had urged him to kill him.

"I hope you are really serious about it, because I really want it," Brandes had written to Meiwes.

In March 2001, Brandes bought a one-way rail ticket to Meiwes's hometown of Rotenburg, where his host picked him up at the station and took him to his half-timbered farmhouse.

Later that night, the two men had sex and after Brandes took sleeping pills and whiskey, Meiwes sliced off the man's penis, which they fried and planned to eat together but found to be inedible.

He told the court it took some nine hours for Brandes to fall unconscious through blood loss, and that the victim had tried to speed up the bleeding.

Eventually, Meiwes said, Brandes begged him to kill him.

According to Meiwes, he waited until he believed Brandes was dead and then stabbed him in the neck and hung his body from a hook on the ceiling of his kitchen.

He told the court he found the first stab at his victim "unbearably difficult."

He laid the body on a beer tent table he had found to use as a butcher's block, dissected it and said he began eating it two days later at a table set with good crockery and candles.

Meiwes finally ate about two-thirds of the corpse cut into steaks, often with accompaniments such as pepper sauce or a wine sauce and potatoes.

The defendant testified on Monday that he believed his victim had already died of blood loss when he stabbed him.

He said he only noticed two days later when watching a video he made of the encounter that he was still breathing faintly.

"These scenes are terrible for me as well," he said, adding that he had prayed for forgiveness for both his victim and himself and kissed him on the mouth just before stabbing him.

"I felt hate, anger and happiness at the same time," he added.

Meiwes on Monday also urged other cannibals to contact psychologists, saying he only felt relief once he was counselled in prison.

The court in Frankfurt must determine whether Meiwes committed murder, despite the victim's purported "death wish".

His lawyers are arguing that he did not, saying the case was one of "killing on demand" which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison in Germany.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 12:22 IST