Cannibalism no longer shocking in Germany after second case in decade

The second case within 10 years means Germans are increasingly inured to the notion of one human being killing and eating another

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 December, 2013, 7:31am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 December, 2013, 9:24am


The would-be "chef" freely admits that he killed his human "long pig".

The killer, known only as Detlef G, a 55-year-old chief inspector with the Saxony state police, has reportedly told investigators that he met his victim through a cannibalism website that hooks up those who want to dine on human flesh with those hoping to be eaten.

He has reportedly confessed to stabbing the 59-year-old German businessman in the neck. He admits he butchered the body and buried the pieces around his bed and breakfast near the German border with the Czech Republic.

But, in his defence, he says he did not eat his victim, not any part of the man that Dresden police have identified as Wojciech S. Detlef G goes on to note that he did not use his victim sexually, either. He just killed him. And he has told police he killed him only because Wojciech S came to him asking to be killed, in just the manner he carried out the act.

Whether consent to be killed is a viable defence remains to be seen. But it is not the first time such a defence has been tried in Germany. And, in the end, the fact such gruesome facts are not new or even particularly surprising to Germans, who witnessed a similar case a decade ago, may be the most shocking bit of this case.

In 2004, another German cannibal faced trial for having killed a man, one who noted, on a videotape that the victim and killer made together, that being eaten by another human was the fulfilment of a dream.

In that case, Armin Meiwes, 42, was first sentenced to eight- and-a-half years in prison for manslaughter in the 2001 death of Bernd-Jurgen Brandes, 43, a successful software engineer from Berlin. Later, he was sentenced to life in prison, and must serve at least 15 years.

The German press has noted that before killing Brandes and eating pieces of his body, Meiwes had advertised for his victims - called "long pigs" after the term some cannibal tribes have used for their human food - on the same website on which Detlef G found Wojciech S.

Detlef G has been charged with murder, and he might face life in prison if he is convicted. News reports have made a point of noting that the German murder statute notes that "the satisfaction of a sexual urge" may be the difference between a murder conviction and a lesser charge.

Dresden police finished scouring the land surrounding Detlef G's bed and breakfast last week. They dug up about 35kg of Wojciech S, to add to an undetermined amount of him they had found earlier. But, according to news reports, they have not yet found the entire body, and they could not yet rule out cannibalism. The Dresden police chief has noted that the killing, dismemberment and burial took Detlef G more than five hours.

The two cases began at what news reports note is the "No 1 site for exotic meat", a euphemism for those with the desire to eat or be eaten. The website claims it has 3,008 members, with screen names such as meatlover and daddylongpig. Back in 2004, Meiwes had estimated that there were 800 other chefs and long pigs in Germany.

Wojciech S' journey to fulfilment began November 4, when he took a bus and then a train to Dresden, where he met Detlef G. The two drove to the bed and breakfast, Pension Gimmlitzil, in the village of Reichenau. A room goes for less than US$18 a night.

There does not appear to have been much foreplay to the act. Soon after arriving, Detlef G allegedly led Wojciech S to the basement and stabbed him in the neck. After Wojciech S died, Detlef G cut the body into pieces and buried it near the house. He told police the slaughter "had been desired by the victim".

The German newspaper Bild published an interview with a 31-year-old sewage mechanic from Baden Wurttemberg who goes by the online name "Junjie". Junjie had met Detlef G on the cannibal website after posting that he "wanted to be grilled alive ... whether on the grill or on a spit, I don't care".

Junjie told Bild that he had spent two weeks at the bed and breakfast with Detlef G, who ultimately decided against the requested grilling death because, he told the volunteer victim, Junjie was too young.