For some murderers, killing isn't enough to sate their bloody appetite. They're hungry to break humanity's final taboo - Cannibalism...
1. Issei Sagawa
Sagawa was born in 1949 in Japan to wealthy parents. In 1978, aged 28, he moved to Paris to study.
On 11 June 1981, he invited fellow Sorbonne classmate, Renee Hartvelt, over to his place for dinner. He had carefully selected her for her qualities and hoped that by killing and eating her, he would ‘absorb her energy’ and replace his own inadequacies.
Sagawa shot Dutch-born Hartevelt in the neck with a rifle. He feasted on her body for two days. The French police caught him when he tried to dispose of what was left of her remains.
In France, Sagawa was deemed unfit to stand trial and was detained in a psychiatric institution indefinitely. He was eventually deported back to Japan, where he was immediately committed to Matsuzawa hospital. They declared him sane and stated that the sole motivation for his crimes was sexual perversion.
A cruel twist in the law meant that the charges were dropped in France and the documents sealed without the Japanese authorities ever seeing them. This meant that they could not legally detain Sagawa in Japan. In 1986, he checked himself out of the hospital and remains free to this day.
2. Andrei Chikatilo
Ukrainian born Chikatilo murdered, mutilated and sexually assaulted 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990.
In 1978, in the coal-mining town of Shakhty, 9-year-old Yelen Zakotnova became Chikatilo’s first murder victim. He strangled and stabbed the child, attempted to rape her, and then dumped her body.
After this first murder, the previously impotent Chikatilo realised he could achieve sexual arousal and orgasm through violence. That realisation compelled him to strangle, stab and mutilate his victims in a 12-year orgy of terror.
The increasing number of murders sparked a massive police operation. Chikatilo was arrested after his final victim, 22 year-old Svetlane Korostik, left a bite mark on his finger. That evidence, along with blood and semen samples confirmed that the police had their killer.
Chikatilo confessed to 34 out of the 36 murders he was charged with. He later confessed to a further 22 killings.
Perhaps most chilling of all, Chikatilo confessed to chewing on the extracted uteri of his female victims and the testicles of his male victims, then discarding the body parts later.
Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 murders and five sexual assault charges. He was sentenced to death and executed on 14 February 1994 by a single gunshot behind the right ear.
3. Jeffery Dahmer
American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was born in 1960. Growing up, Dahmer had an unhealthy obssession with dead creatures and dissection and was considered a loner and oddball by his peers.
Aged 18 and just three weeks after his high school graduation, Dahmer committed his first murder. He picked up 18 year-old hitchhiker Steven Mark Hicks then lured him back to his house with the promise of alcohol. But when Hicks said he wanted to leave, Dahmer bludgeoned him with a 10lb dumbbell. He went on to strangle him with the bar of the dumbbell, then stripped him and masturbated over his corpse. Later, he pared the flesh from his bones, He dissolved the flesh with acid and crushed the bones with a sledgehammer.
Over the next 13 years, Jeffrey Dahmer’s reign of terror would claim the lives of 17 boys. Most of his victims were killed by strangulation after being drugged with a sedative. To satisy his sexual urges, Dahmer needed to keep his victims submissive. He would bore holes into their skulls and inject muriatic acid or boiling water directly onto the brain, rendering them zombies. Dahmer would eviscerate his victims and store their body parts for later consumption
By 1991, Dahmer was murdering one person a week. On 22 July of that year, all that ended. Tracy Edwards escaped from Dahmer’s apartment and alerted the police. A search of the killer’s apartment revealed polaroids of mutilated corpses, bodyparts in the freezer and a collection of human ‘souvenir’ skulls from Dahmer’s previous victims.
In total, Dahmer’s house of horrors was home to a severed head, three bags containing a heart, flesh and a portion of muscle. A freezer contained three heads, a human torso, a bag containing flesh and some internal organs. Elsewhere, police found two bleached skulls, two hands, a penis, testicles, five more skulls, a complete skeleton, dried human scalp and more genitals. In a vat of acid, police found three human torsos in various stages of decomposition.
In 1992 Dahmer was ruled sane enough for trial. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 70 years. The death penalty was not an option as capital punishment in Wisconsin was abolished in 1853.
In 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death in prison by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver.
4. Jose Luis Calva
Born in Mexico in 1969, Calva had been accused of murder on eight occasions. In 2007, Mexican law enforcement went to Calva’s home to question him about his missing girlfriend, Alejandra Galeana.
On entering his home, they discovered Calva eating human meat seasoned with lemon. Calva tried to escape through a window but the police captured him. A search found the mutilated body of his girlfriend, human flesh in the fridge, yet more in a frying pan and human bones in cereal boxes.
The police also found a book on cannibalism and a picture of Hannibal Lecter, as portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 killer thriller, The Silence of the Lambs.
Calva was charged with two murders. He was found guilty and sentenced to 84 years in prison.
On 11 December 2007, Calva was found hanging by his belt from the roof of his prison cell.
5. Armin Meiwes
German born Meiwes placed an advert on a cannibal fetish blog. He stated he was, ‘looking for a well-built 18-30 year old to be slaughtered and then consumed‘
Bizarrely, the advert attracted a good response but many backed out. One man did not, Bernd Jurgen Armando Brandes.
The two met on 9 March, 2001 at Meiwes apartment. They had sex and then made a video of Meiwes amputating Brande’s penis and trying to eat it. Meiwes was forced to use a knife on the penis when biting it off failed. Brandes attempted to eat his raw penis but found it too ‘chewy’. Meiwes tried to cook the penis but burnt it. Deciding it was too charred for consumption, he fed it to his dog.
As Brandes lay bleeding, Meiwes fed him a coctkail of alcohol and drugs before finally stabbing him to death. Meiwes then stripped Brandes of flesh, cut him into pieces and froze his body parts for consumption later. Meiwes consumed up to 20 kilos of that flesh over the next 10 months.
Meiwes was arrested in 2002 and convicted of manslaughter in 2004. Later, a retrial was ordered and in 2006, Meiwes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
6. Joachim Georg Kroll
Kroll was born in Nazi-Germany in 1933.
In 1955, Kroll killed his first victim, 19 year-old Irmgard Strehl. He raped, stabbed and disemboweled her. Then left her in a barn. He would go on to kill another 13 times.
Kroll would surprise his victims and strangle them. Then, he would strip them, rape them and masturbate over them. After, he would dismember their bodies and keep pieces of them to eat later. Kroll would then go home and have intercourse with a sex doll.
In 1976, the search for a missing girl led the police to Kroll’s apartment. Inside they found the remains of 4-year-old Marion Kettner. The police found some body parts in the fridge and a small hand cooking in a pan of boiling water.
Kroll was arrested and claimed he ate his victims to save on food bills. Kroll confessed to a total of 14 murders but was convicted of eight, in 1982 and given a life sentence.
He died of a heart attack in prison in 1991.
7. Albert Fish
Fish was an American serial killer, child rapist and cannibal. Born in 1870 in Washington, Fish’s obsession with sexual mutilation manifested itself after seeing a bisection of a penis at a wax work museum.
Fish travelled from state to state luring, torturing, mutilating and killing his victims with his ‘implements of hell’, a meat cleaver, a butch knife and a saw.
Fish indulged his taste for cannibalism in 1928. He had befriended the Budd family and persuaded the parents to let him take their 10-year-old daughter, Grace to a birthday party. Instead, he strangled her, beheaded and dismemebered her. He then cooked her body parts in a stew with onions and carrots and devoured the lot. He vanished after that but returned several years later and wrote a letter to the Budd family,
‘…I made up my mind to eat her… First I stripped her naked. How she did kick-bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms. Cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body.’
That letter provided vital evidence that led to the arrest of Albert Fish and ended a six year man hunt. In 1935, Fish was tried and convicted of Grace Budd’s murder and sentenced to the death penalty. In 1936 he was electrocuted at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.