Cannibal given life for eating victim

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The Independent Online

A cannibal who killed and ate an apparently willing male victim has been convicted of murder and jailed for life after a German court overturned a conviction of manslaughter on the grounds it was too lenient. Armin Meiwes, 44, the "Cannibal of Rotenburg" had been sentenced to eight and-a-half years in 2004 for killing and eating Bernd Jurgen Brandes, 43, a homosexual computer engineer whom he met via the internet.

Judges at the first trial said they based their verdict of manslaughter on defence evidence which suggested Meiwes' victim had volunteered to be eaten and killed. Meiwes maintained that he would "never have touched" his victim had he not wanted to be killed.

But an appeal court in Frankfurt overturned the original verdict yesterday, arguing that at his first trial, judges had overlooked key prosecution evidence which showed that Meiwes killed for sexual pleasure. "Meiwes slaughtered his victim like a piece of livestock and treated him as an object of his fancy," the state prosecutor said.

Defence lawyers admitted that Meiwes had a fetish for human flesh but maintained he was not a danger to society.