Skip to comments.Cannibal's video reveals mutilation and slaughter (Warning:Graphic text)
Posted on 12/08/2003 4:40:22 PM PST by saquin
(A sickened court sees on film the last agonies of an apparently willing victim)
GERMANYS cannibal trial took on the air of a grim seance yesterday as the judges drew the courtroom blinds and watched a chilling home video of Armin Meiwes, the self-confessed man-eater, mutilating and killing his victim in preparation for a macabre feast.
It wasnt murder; it was a mercy killing, an increasingly flustered Herr Meiwes told the court before the showing of the film. I didnt want to kill anybody or cause pain.
Nonetheless, it took Bernd-Jürgen Brandes, the slaughtered computer software specialist, ten hours to die from the moment that his penis was severed with a butchers knife. The key episodes in this grisly crime were filmed by Herr Meiwes and 19 minutes of it were viewed in the court in Kassel yesterday: a grotesque spectacle that left the lawyers present speechless and green at the gills. A lay judge looked particularly unsteady as she left the darkened courtroom.
Journalists and the general public were barred from watching the film, but a court source gave a detailed account.
The cannibal and his victim are seen first in the kitchen; the conservation is mumbled, but is audible enough to confirm Herr Meiwess version of the bloody night in March 2001.
The film rolls: Herr Brandes urges Herr Meiwes to slice off the organ. The knife is too blunt. The camera is switched off until Herr Meiwes returns with a sharper instrument; the victim seems to be saying: Get rid of it.
For the defence, the scene is important, bolstering the argument of Herr Meiwes that Herr Brandes was a willing victim. Herr Meiwes emphasised yesterday that he had no interest nor sexual pleasure in killing his victim; he merely wanted to eat him.
This was not a sexual thing you have sex with a partner in bed, not with a piece of meat, Herr Meiwes said.
On film, the camera shows him cooking the amputated organ; the victim, clutching his bandaged wound, seems to be watching passively.
The second sequence of the film was, if anything, more stomach-churning. After the amputation, Herr Brandes lies in a warm bath to drain himself of blood. Some hours pass, Herr Meiwes switches off the camera and reads a Star Trek adventure. By the time that the film resumes, Herr Meiwes is dressed in blue pyjamas. Underneath a butchers apron he wears the kind of heavy-duty rubber boots used in slaughterhouses. The room shown on camera is a chamber in the attic that once served as a place to smoke meat and sausages. Hooks hang from the ceiling. Herr Brandes is seen on the main table.
On one wall there is a cross of St Andrew and in the corner a wooden cage, both used by Herr Meiwes in earlier sado-masochistic games. A knife and a coiled rope are on a picnic table. The filmed movements are almost wordless, spectral.
In earlier testimony last week Herr Meiwes said that he was at first sure that his victim had already died or was very close to death after he had carried him upstairs and dumped him on the attic table.
The film shows him feeling the mans pulse. If you look at the video closely, said a police superintendent testifying in court yesterday, you can see Herr Brandes move his head. He is clearly still alive. The victim can even be seen muttering some words that, according to the court transcript, are: Put me out of my misery.
Herr Meiwes is seen taking the knife from the picnic table and clumsily stabbing his victims throat. I dont remember Bernds words. I have a complete blackout about that moment, the accused said.
The film is unclear, but it seems to support Herr Meiwess contention that he kissed his victim and said a prayer for him before stabbing him.
Fortunately, perhaps, for the queasy lawyers, the next segment of film has not yet been shown. This depicts Herr Meiwes decapitating the corpse. According to his own testimony, he talked to the head while cutting up the body.
Police testified yesterday that, in a search of the house, they had found little cocktail flags the kind used to stick in cheese samples in supermarket promotions marked with the names of body parts. These had been used in role-playing games with other men, who merely wanted to be threatened with cannibalism rather than undergo the real thing. These games acted as rehearsals for Herr Meiwess dissection of Herr Brandes.
A detective said yesterday that she had discovered a double bottom in the deep freeze and chunks of carefully marked meat that turned out to be body parts. When the policewoman opened the freezer, Herr Meiwes who until then had been a courteous host left the house and sought out a lawyer.
A central pillar of Herr Meiwess defence is that he is a one-off cannibal. He was searching for a substitute brother who he wanted inside him; this, he said, was so effective that he even found himself speaking better English after eating parts of Herr Brandess body, reflecting the superior language skills of his victim. There was, in short, no need to carry on eating people; one was enough.
Yet testimony in court yesterday showed that Herr Meiwes was still on the hunt for new victims after Herr Brandess death shortly before Easter 2001. By December 2002, the time of the police raid, Herr Meiwes had eaten almost all of the 20kg (44lb) of his deep-frozen victim.
An expert on cannibalism, the writer Jacques Buval, is sure that the single-victim defence is untenable. Cannibalism is a serial crime, he told The Times, If they let him free, hell do it again.
If Herr Meiwes, a 42-year-old former soldier, succeeds in persuading the court that he was just the instrument of Herr Brandess death wish, he faces a maximum of five years in jail. Marcus Kohler, the prosecutor, is likely to demand a life sentence.
Herr Kohler is trying to establish that Herr Meiwes is guilty of murder driven by sexual urges. His questions yesterday centred on whether Herr Meiwes derived sexual pleasure from watching the video, as the prosecution alleges, but which Herr Meiwes denies.
Herr Meiwes described his need to eat human flesh yesterday as a temporary, frenzied compulsion: It was like a roundabout that span and span, quicker and quicker, so you couldnt get off.
The trial resumes on Friday.
Oh, he's flustered? Good almighty God. This is insane, and I hope everyone who had to watch that video receives counseling.
Oops. I forgot, he's in Europe. No capital punishment allowed. Oh well, I hope he doesn't do it again when they release him in a couple of years.
That's just not true. I ate seven people in the 1980s, and I've hardly had even an arm or a leg since then.
Just for the sake of clarity, it was more than just the tip off.