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A GERMAN engineer who killed and ate a willing victim in a high-profile case that shocked the country, must serve a life sentence for murder after a court rejected his appeal.
The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe threw out the appeal by Armin Meiwes, who had argued that he could not be convicted of murder because his victim had agreed to be killed and eaten.
In a tale that horrified Germany, Meiwes found his victim, Bernd-Juergen Brandes, over the internet.
The IT manager Brandes had posted an advert for someone to “obliterate his life and leave no trace”.
Brandes travelled by train to meet Meiwes in the western town of Rotenburg in March 2001. There, the cannibal videotaped himself severing Brandes’s penis with a knife before both men tried to eat it.
Bleeding profusely, Brandes fell unconscious. With the video recorder still rolling, Meiwes laid him out on a bench, kissing him on the lips before plunging a knife into his throat.
He suspended the victim on a meat hook and froze 30kg of flesh in parcels and later ate some with cabbage and potatoes.
A German court had initially convicted Meiwes of manslaughter and sentenced him to eight years in jail in 2004.
But a Frankfurt court in May 2006 overturned that conviction and threw out the defence argument that Meiwes had acted on his victim’s request, a crime similar to euthanasia which in Germany carries a maximum prison term of five years.
The Frankfurt court said Meiwes was psychologically sick, but fully aware of his actions.
Meiwes killed Brandes “because he wanted to slaughter and eat his flesh.
“He had achieved the biggest kick of his life,” the judge said at the time.
The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany’s top court, upheld that ruling yesterday.
Meiwes admitted that he eventually ate some 20kg (44 pounds) of Brandes’s flesh, accompanied by potatoes and a pepper or wine sauce, served on “good crockery”.
But what has fascinated the media and the public was the testimony in which Meiwes revealed his obsessions and lifted the lid on an underworld of cannibalism, which Meiwes claims counts about 800 members in Germany.
He has also said that from his prison cell he still fantasised about killing people when he saw attractive young bodies on television or in magazines.
The case inspired a US-made horror film titled, Butterfly, A Grimm Love Story, but Meiwes succeeded in blocking its release on the grounds that it infringed on his privacy.
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