A sex expert at the retrial of a German cannibal jailed for killing a man and feeding on his flesh said on Tuesday the defendant had not been motivated by a desire to kill but by his victim’s wish to be eaten.
Armin Meiwes, who was jailed two years ago for killing a computer engineer who had begged to be eaten, is standing trial for the second time after Germany’s top criminal court ruled that his eight-year sentence for manslaughter was too lenient.
Prosecutors, hoping to secure a murder conviction, need to show that Meiwes killed his victim to fulfil his own sexual desire or that he planned to distribute for profit part of the videotape he made of the crime.
Meiwes’s defense hinges on his victim’s request to be eaten and that he was simply fulfilling this desire, a view backed up by a sex psychologist who addressed the court in Frankfurt.
“He (Meiwes) was convinced that he wanted it and that he would live on within him,” Klaus Beier told the court. “His motivation was not to kill.”
Beier described Meiwes as an affable, self-confident and positive man, who apart from his crime would have done little to attract attention.
He told the crowded court how Meiwes had searched the Internet for a suitable partner, trawling through advertisements including one from a 26-year-old who was looking for “a likeable, older gentleman to read me my death sentence”.
His search had been fruitless, however, until he met Bernd-Juergen Brandes, who had advertised for someone to “obliterate his life and leave no trace.”
Of the handful of men he met, Meiwes had said, only Brandes had been a truly willing victim. “He never had to doubt Brandes’s willingness,” Beier told the court on Tuesday.
Beier said that Meiwes’s fantasy had its roots in his father’s departure from the family home and a domineering and embittered mother. His desire to eat someone stemmed from his wish to find a partner who would not abandon him.
At an earlier hearing in January, Meiwes told judges how he had severed Brandes’s penis and that both had tried to eat it, without success, although Meiwes later ate flesh from the body.
After heavy bleeding, Brandes finally fell unconscious. Believing his victim to be dead Meiwes laid his victim out on a bench and plunged a knife into his neck.
He said that only when he later saw his videotape of killing did he realize that Brandes had still been faintly breathing.
Germany’s top criminal court said the first trial court had ignored the fact that Meiwes had filmed the slaying for later sexual gratification.
Meiwes’s lawyers, however, have said that he had released four potential victims who had changed their minds at the last minute and initially driven Brandes homeward after he appeared to lose his nerve.