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Cannibal jailed for life

Luke Harding

Original sentence found too lenient

Berlin: The German cannibal Armin Meiwes, who killed and ate another man, was convicted of murder and jailed for life on Tuesday after a court ruled that his original sentence was too lenient.

The court in Frankfurt overturned the verdict at his trial two years ago, which saw Meiwes, a 44-year-old computer technician, sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.

The retrial, which began in January, was held after a federal appeals court threw out his manslaughter conviction to allow prosecutors to seek a tougher sentence.

Miewes' lawyers had argued that their client — who befriended a 43-year-old computer engineer Bernd Jurgen Brandes, later cooking him in garlic and olive oil — was unlikely to devour anyone else. They also said he was guilty not of murder but of "killing on demand" since his victim had agreed to be eaten. "Miewes didn't show much emotion. But yes, he is shocked by it," Miewes' lawyer said. "We will now consider whether we appeal."

Under German law Meiwes will now have to serve a mandatory 15-year sentence — with no parole before 2016. His original two-month trial gripped Germany and the world with its lurid detail.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

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