Cannibal of Rothenburg
The Times January 17, 2006
I wanted to eat him, not kill him, court is toldFrom Roger Boyes in Berlin ARMIN MEIWES, the so-called Cannibal of Rothenburg, described to a horrified courtroom yesterday how he lit candles and laid out a white tablecloth and his best cutlery to dine on the dismembered corpse of a German software specialist.
“I wanted to eat him but not to kill him,” said Meiwes, 44. The computer technician was the first to speak in the retrial in Frankfurt of one of the most grisly criminal cases in modern Germany.
The victim, Bernd-Jürgen Brandes, and his future killer met over the internet, which has triggered legal confusion. Until the creation of chat rooms, it was statistically almost impossible for a cannibal to meet a willing victim. Brandes’s willingness emerged yesterday as Meiwes’s main defence. He is serving an 8½-year jail term for manslaughter but an appeals court has ruled that there is sufficient evidence for a murder conviction.
Meiwes, however, says that he assisted in a mercy killing. He told the court that he hoped his victim would either bleed to death or “jump out of a window” after he had cut off his penis. He tried to portray Brandes as suicidal.
After laying the engineer on a butcher’s table, Meiwes stabbed him in the throat, but he said yesterday that he had been sure his victim was dead.
However, a four-hour video recording of the butchery from a camera set up by Meiwes showed that Brandes was breathing shallowly before being stabbed. It will be the central piece of evidence in the retrial, expected to end in March.
Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.