'Snuff' video confiscated at children's comic fair: 'Murder and decapitation' shown on imported film

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

Trading standards officers seized copies of a 'snuff video' at a children's fair.

Cannibal Holocaust, which purports to depict a murder followed by scenes of decapitation, and banned videos including Driller Killer, were found on a stall at a comic fair in the Midland Hotel, Birmingham, at the weekend.

Acting on a tip-off, officers took away 98 videos, including counterfeit copies of feature films. The videos were selling for pounds 10 each.

A spokesman for Birmingham's environmental services department said that it was the first known seizure in the city of a snuff video. He said he had no doubt that the death scene was genuine.

The stall-holder, a man from York in his mid-twenties, has been interviewed by trading standards officials and action is being considered.

Cannibal Holocaust shows footage of Amazon indians butchering a white man depicted as a jungle explorer. It is believed the man was drugged before being murdered in front of the camera. The scene has then been edited into the rest of the film which features legitimate actors.

Dr Mike Hilburn, chairman of Birmingham's public health and environmental protection committee, called for penalties for selling such material to be increased. 'The so-called snuff video we seized contains absolutely disgusting scenes of a man being hacked to death, decapitated and then disembowelled,' he said.

'I have never seen anything like this before and I have no doubt that the scenes were genuine. What disturbs me is that these videos were on sale at a comic fair and could easily have been bought by children.

'They showed diabolical scenes of human beings being butchered and ingested. They are beyond belief.'

Dr Hilburn said it was impossible to say how many copies of the video had been sold before the trader was stopped. 'The videos had been on sale for two or three hours,' he said.