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NEWS

German cannibal's dad unaware of son's 'Hansel & Gretel' obsession


January 19, 2004

German self-confessed cannibal Armin Meiwes waits for the start of the tenth day of his trial in Kassel. Photo: AFP DDP/Pool/Uwe Zucchi
KASSEL, Germany — Self-confessed gay cannibal Armin Meiwes had been a quiet and well-behaved little boy who never displayed any desire to harm anyone or anything, his father told a court in Germany Friday.

The elder Meiwes testified before the court in Kassel that he had no inkling of his son's purported "Hansel & Gretel" obsession.

However, he pointed out that he had had little contact with Armin since the Meiwes marriage broke up when the boy was 8 years old. Armin stayed with his mother when the elder Meiwes abandoned them in what he said was the result of long-standing domestic disputes.

Young Armin remained in the custody of his mother Waltraud while the father took an older son to live with him.

The defendant himself has told investigators he had a childhood obsession with the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel", and was especially fascinated by the passage in which the storybook witch "fattened up little Hansel" in hopes of cooking and eating him.

This fixation may have been exacerbated when his mother moved to the rambling, 30-room, half-timbered farm house in Rotenburg an der Fulda when he was 16.

Earlier, a former boyhood friend described Armin as having been a polite and mild-mannered mama's boy.

The witness said Meiwes was firmly under the thumb of his mother who ordered him about the house "like a drill sergeant" and who chaperoned him on his rare dates with women and who even insisted on accompanying him on field exercises when he was in the military.

"The other soldiers in his company thought that was pretty weird, to say the least," the witness testified.

When he was 20 she even had the temerity to post a stick-on label saying "Kinderzimmer" (Child's Room) on the door of Armin's bedroom. He never removed the label, the witness said, even after his mother died in 1999.

The witness said it was only after her death that Armin began talking about "horrible things" he had discovered while surfing the Internet in search of gay companionship, the witness said.

Because Germany has no law against cannibalism, Meiwes is charged with murder "for sexual satisfaction" and "disturbing the peace of the dead" in the death of Bernd Juergen Brandes.

His defence is pressing for a lesser charge of "killing on demand" which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence and is normally applied in cases of "mercy killing". Meiwes contends his victim wanted to be killed and was aware of his fate.

Meiwes was tracked down and arrested in December 2002 after police became aware of an advertisement he had placed on the Internet looking for volunteers willing to be killed and eaten.

Thousands of pornographic pictures depicting acts of violence and torture were also found at the house near the town of Rotenburg, south of Kassel.

One police witness said prosecutors were investigating another man who was allegedly plotting an act of cannibalism.

The trial continues. Sentencing is expected on January 30. –Sapa-dpa


Related links stories
German cannibal had over 200 'applicants', court told [19/01/2004]
German cannibal victim offered money for penis bite [13/01/2004]

 

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