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Cannibalism fetish murder: German ex-policeman faces trial again

Soon after the death, Guenzel admitted to detectives that he killed the victim by cutting his throat. But he later retracted his confession. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Berlin, Germany Nov 01, 2016, 03.50 AM (IST)

A German ex-police officer who was convicted of murdering a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists will go on trial again today after the verdict against him was overturned on appeal.

Detlev Guenzel, 58, was sentenced to eight years and six months in jail last year by a regional court in the eastern city of Dresden, which found him guilty of killing Polish-born Wojciech Stempniewicz in 2013.

Guenzel had cut Stempniewicz’s  body into small pieces in a slaughter chamber he built in his cellar, and then buried them in his garden, the court found. However, there was no evidence that he ate any part of his victim.

The Federal Court of Justice overturned the verdict, arguing that the regional court had failed to probe whether the victim had actually killed himself through strangulation, as the Guenzel had claimed.

It also disputed the sentence imposed by the Dresden court as too lenient for a murder conviction, and ordered a retrial.

Guenzel,had met Stempniewicz in October 2013 on a website for slaughter and cannibalism fantasies tagged as the "#1 site for exotic meat" , that has more than 3,000 registered members.

His defence team argued that Stempniewicz had hanged himself in Guenzel's custom-designed "S&M studio" before Guenzel took a knife, then an electric saw, to him.

Guenzel admitted to detectives that he killed the victim by cutting his throat, soon after the death. But he later retracted his confession.

Investigators said  in the first trial that they could not determine the cause of death due to the state of the corpse.

Guenzel and Stempniewicz had ensued an extensive contact online and by telephone before finally arranging the fatal date on November 4, 2013. 

Their emails bore the title "Schlachtfest", the German word for a country feast after the slaughter of a pig. 

A 50-minute video Guenzel made was played during the trial and showed him at one point covered in blood as he mutilated the corpse, muttering, "I never thought I would sink so low.”

The Dresden court had imposed  just above half of the maximum 15 years for murder, taking into account the death wish of the victim. 

The victim's wish "did not open the possibility to reduce the penalty", said the appeal court.

A verdict is expected in January at the earliest.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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