German cannibal's dad unaware of son's 'Hansel & Gretel' obsession
January 19, 2004
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.
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|
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
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
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
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