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Neighbors described Armin Meiwes as a nice bloke who would happily mow their lawns and wash their cars.
He even invited them round for dinner.
But Meiwes had a secret. Since childhood he had always wanted to eat someone.
On the internet, every sick fantasy is catered for, so Meiwes placed an advert on The Cannibal Cafe forum seeking "a young well-built man" to become his dinner.
Horrifyingly, he got a number of responses. One of them was from Bernd Brandes, 43.
The successful IT manager, who was bisexual, had recently split up with his girlfriend and wanted someone to "obliterate his life and leave no trace".
Following a month of exchanging messages where they spoke of their mutual desires, they met at Meiwes' home.
After having sex, Meiwes took him to his "slaughter room" and started his video recorder.
Brandes confirmed he was happy to proceed and downed 20 sleeping tablets and some cough syrup.
He then asked Meiwes to bite his penis off. He couldn't, it was too tough, so they used a knife instead, and then both tried to eat it.
When Brandes said it was too "chewy", Meiwes fried it in a pan with salt, pepper, wine, and garlic but he overcooked it.
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Horrifyingly, he then sliced it into chunks and fed it to his dog.
Meiwes then put the heavily bleeding Brandes in a bath, before going to read a Star Trek book, popping in every now and then to check how he was doing.
Eventually, he knelt in prayer by the bath, then plunged a knife into his unconscious new friend's throat.
It was time to get to work.
With the video recorder still running, he hung the body on a meat hook and started to butcher it.
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He put several pieces of Mr Brandes' flesh – totalling around 44lbs – into the freezer under some pizza boxes and, over the next 10 months, ate around half of it.
He couldn't easily eat the head so he buried it in the back garden.
When later arrested, he told officers he always used his best cutlery, decorated the dinner table with candles, and opened some nice wine for his "special meals" which he had with cabbage and potatoes,
He said Mr Brandes tasted of pork: "With every bite, my memory of him grew stronger."
Meiwes continued to meet other men who claimed they wished to be eaten, but none went through with it.
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He was eventually arrested after police were tipped off about his desires and confessed to getting a sexual thrill from his crime.
However, prosecuting him was not as easy as it seemed. How could he have committed murder when his apparently sane victim asked to be eaten?
Witnesses also came forward saying Mr Brandes had offered them up to £3,300 to bite off his penis.
But was Meiwes himself sane?
The court was told when his father left home when Meiwes was eight, he began imagining eating his own friends so they could never leave him. His mother was a strict and domineering woman who used to dress him up in girls' clothes.
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Visitors to his house said while all the upstairs rooms were packed with old computers and other junk, with cat poo everywhere, his mother's old room was immaculate with her dressing gown and slippers laid out next to the bed as if she could return any minute.
Friends said Meiwes was obsessed with death, collecting videos and pictures of the mangled remains of car crash victims and other violent deaths.
The court ruled that while Meiwes was obviously disturbed, he was sane enough to know what he was doing and he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced him to eight years in jail in 2004.
But in 2008 Germany’s top court ruled that Meiwes must serve a life sentence for murder.
He continues to appeal against the sentence and is now a vegetarian.
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