Ex-cop found guilty of killing man he befriended on cannibal fetish site

Detlev Guenzel smiles in court
Detlev Guenzel smiles in court

A German police officer was convicted of murder for killing a man he met in an internet chat forum devoted to cannibalism.

A regional court in the eastern city of Dresden sentenced Detlev Guenzel to eight years and six months in prison, court spokesman Ralf Hoegner said.

Judges concluded that the policeman killed a 59-year-old businessman from Hannover in November 2013 "to fulfil his sexual desires", Mr Hoegner said.

Judge Birgit Wiegand said the defendant was guilty of “murder motivated by sexual lust and disturbing the peace of the dead”.

Prosecutors said the Polish-born victim, Wojciech Stempniewicz, had fantasised about being eaten, but there was no evidence the suspect actually did so.

The defendant, who worked as a police handwriting expert, denied murder and said the victim killed himself.

The killing took place at a small hotel south of Dresden owned by the defendant, who filmed himself dismembering the corpse.

He later deleted the video, but police were able to reconstruct it. In the video, the policeman could be heard saying: "I never thought I'd sink so low."

The court was told that Guenzel – who neighbours described as soft-spoken and unfailingly polite - had cut the body into small pieces in a macabre ‘slaughter chamber’ he built in his cellar and then buried them in his garden.

However, there was no actual evidence that he ate any part of his victim.

The two men contacted each other in October 2013 using a website for ‘slaughter and cannibalism fantasies’.

The web page claimed to be the “#1 site for exotic meat” and claimed to have more than 3,000 registered members on its list.

There was an option to click a box to allow people to indicate if they would like to go ‘beyond the realm of the imagination’ with their sick desires.

Comparisons have been drawn to the case of confessed German cannibal Armin Meiwes, who was arrested for the killing of an internet acquaintance more than a decade ago.

Meiwes, who captured the killing on video, said his victim answered an internet posting seeking a young man for "slaughter and consumption".

Meiwes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He argued unsuccessfully to Germany's highest court that the killing should be classified as a mercy killing and maintained that his sentence was disproportionate.