Cannibal denies sexual motive

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The Independent Online

Germany's self-confessed "Cannibal of Rotenburg" denied that sexual motives played a part in his decision to kill and eat a 43-year-old Internet acquaintance yesterday before judges watched a two-hour video film of him slaughtering and dismembering his victim.

Armin Meiwes, 42, appeared in a court in Kassel on the second day of his trial in which he is acused of murdering Bernd Juergen Brandes at his farmhouse in Rotenburg in March 2001 and subsequently consuming parts of his body kept in a deep freeze at his home.

State prosecutors have charged Meiwes with killing Brandes to gratify his sexual urges. However Meiwes, a computer expert, denied the accusations yesterday: "One has sex with a partner in bed, not with a piece of meat," he told the court, "It had nothing to do with sexual arousal," he added. Meiwes delivered his statement before judges went into closed session to watch a video film of the murder, which was considered too horrific for public viewing. The judges also took the unprecedented step of ordering additonal jury members to watch the video in the event of regular jurors finding the film too unbearable to watch.

Meiwes, who met Brandes through the Internet, stabbed his victim to death in a specially constructed slaughter chamber in his attic. He claimed that Brandes, who took alcohol and sleeping pills before he died, wanted to be killed and eaten and that his death was tantamount to assisted euthenasia. Before killing Brandes he cut off his penis which both men consumed.

Yeserday Meiwes backed up his earlier evidence in which he claimed that eating another human being was comparable to "Communion". "By eating I wanted to make this person become part of me," he told the court.

However police witnesses said that Meiwes had told them under questioning that he had masturbated while watching the video he had made of Brandes' killing. They also said they had confiscated 300 videos and 2 CDs from his home, which contained footage of autopsies and male sexual organs.

Mewies admitted yesterday that he had searched for other possible victims on the Internet after Brandes's death. "The meat had almost run out," he told the court. Police said that in December 2002 they found an axe, several knives and a butcher's apron in Meiwes' attic. They also discovered several "packets of meat" under a false floor in his deep freeze. "You could see it wasn't pork," said a woman police witness.

A verdict is expected on January 30.