‘Kobe Cannibal’ | 

Japanese cannibal who killed and ate Dutch student but dodged jail dies age 73

He was a celebrity in Japan, writing books, appearing on TV and even an X-rated ‘cannibal-themed’ video in the 1990s.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A Japanese cannibal who killed and partially consumed the body parts of a Dutch student but was never jailed, has died aged 73.

Issei Sagawa, known as ‘Kobe Cannibal,’ was studying in Paris in 1981 when he met 25-year-old Renne Hartevelt.

The young woman was shot by Sagawa before he sexually assaulted her and ate parts of her flesh across several days.

He attempted to dispose of her body in a Parisian park when the police were called and he confessed to his crimes.

He was deemed unfit to stand trial and was held in a psychiatric institution in France before being deported to Japan in 1984.

When he arrived, authorities decided he was sane but suffering from a “character anomaly.” He never returned to hospital and never went to prison – as French officials never released his files.

Sagawa wrote a memoir going into grisly detail of his crimes, appeared in documentaries and was often appearing on TV and magazines.

He starred in a pornographic movie, sold paintings of naked women and produced a comic book depicting his crime in detail alongside his weekly column in a Japanese magazine.

The killer never showed remorse, saying last year: "The desire to eat people becomes so intense around June when women start wearing less and showing more skin.

"Just today, I saw a girl with a really nice derriere on my way to the train station. When I see things like that, I think about wanting to eat someone again before I die."

His crime was so famous it was referenced in ‘Too Much Blood’ by the Rolling Stones and ‘La Foile’ by The Stranglers.

His final years were spent in a wheelchair living with his brother following a stroke.


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