The defendant with his lawyer in court. Photo: DPA.
A man on trial for charges of attempted murder and serious assault is now suspected of cannibalism after a police officer's testimony in court.
A 20-year-old man is on trial in Hanau, Hesse, accused of attacking a then 18-year-old friend in the victim's apartment last October with two knives. Prosecutors say he stabbed the victim in the neck with both weapons, bit off both his ears, cut off both eyelids, and stabbed him in the eyes a with pen.
A neighbour heard screams coming from the apartment and called police, who then broke down the door to find the bloody scene, according to local news portal Hessenschau
. The victim is now blind and still bears the physical markings of the attack. He is believed to have gone to Switzerland, and has not appeared in court.
On Wednesday, a police officer testified with permission of the victim that the wounded young man had told him that the defendant said during the attack that he was going to eat his flesh.
Another police officer had also testified at the start of the trial that upon seeing the crime scene, he had “thought of cannibalism and ritual behaviour”.
The two young men both arrived in Germany as refugees and unaccompanied minors in 2013, the victim from Somalia and the defendant from Eritrea, according to Bild
. They had met and become friends at a youth home in Bad Soden-Salmünster, but both later moved to Schlüchtern.
The prosecution had argued at the start of the trial that the assault had started over a dispute about money, but the head judge noted that it must have been motivated by more than that.
“This is a distinctly brutal and bizarre act,” said the judge, Susanne Wetzel.
Germany has had several high profile cannibal cases in recent years, including a former policeman convicted in December
of murdering and chopping up a willing victim he had met on a website for cannibalism fetishists.
One of the most infamous cases was in 2001, when a man admitted to killing, mutilating and eating a lover who had answered his online ad looking for a “slaughter victim”. He is currently serving a life sentence.