The 26-year-old went into his victim’s house on Thursday evening in the sleepy hamlet of Nouilhan, home to some 200 people, and bashed open his victim’s head with an iron rod, investigators said.
He ripped out the man’s heart and tongue, ate them, and then burnt the body, police reported. After that, he set fire to the house and the flames alerted the victim’s son, who lives nearby.
Police found a burnt corpse with a gash in the side and a piece of cooked meat on a plate along with some beans — a local speciality — taken from the refrigerator.
It was “not a pretty sight“, a source told the AFP news agency.
The man had gone on to attack another man, who was seated on a tractor, breaking his shoulder, breaking into another house and stealing a hunting rifle before being frightened off by dogs barking and the arrival of the owner.
Police finally managed to arrest the man, from the nearby village of Tarbes in the Haute-Pyrenees department, some three hours into his rampage.
The incident comes three years after a prisoner dubbed the French Hannibal Lecter was jailed for 30 years after ripping out his cellmate’s lung and eating it.
Nicolas Cocaign, whose face is covered in tattoos, said he flew into an “uncontrollable” rage when his victim, Thierry Baudry, gave him a “dirty look”.
A judge said he would serve at least 20 years behind bars.