Friday, March 9, 2012

Top 8 Human Cannibals by Country

There is nothing as disgusting as people who torture, murder, and cannibalize humans. In the past, humans have practiced cannibalism in many parts of the world. Today, the Korowai are one of the few tribes believed to eat human flesh as a cultural practice. In most countries, the act of human cannibalism is not illegal, nor a problem. People who eat human flesh are unusually charged with a crime relating to murder or desecration of a body. In the past, cannibalism has been practiced by people suffering from famine or starvation, but this article will not cover any such cases, only people who have committed criminal cannibalism.

Within the field of psychology there is a debate on what factors lead a person to practice criminal cannibalism. Some evidence suggests that cannibalism is a result of trauma experienced in childhood. It has been called a “psychological response to anger and frustration” expressed through oral aggression and an urge to literally absorb a person through consumption. In reality, people who kill and eat others are mentally unstable and dangerous predators. These types of individuals are rare and many countries have never seen a serial human cannibal. The life of a cannibal encompasses some of the worst and most sadistic examples of human capability.

This article will examine twenty people who were caught in the act of eating or having just consumed a human victim. It was organized specifically by country, with one person chosen from each area of the world. However, it has two Russians and two Germans, as I could find eighteen countries with documented cases of criminal cannibalism. The article is a sequel to a list posted on December 18, 2008, which covers the Top 10 Cases of Human Cannibalism. For that reason, it will not include any people mentioned in that article, most notably Albert Fish, Andrei Chikatilo, Armin Meiwes, Issei Sagawa, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Vince Weiguang Li

Vince Weiguang Li was born in Dandong, China on April 30, 1968. He immigrated to Canada from China on June 11, 2001, and became an official Canadian citizen on November 7, 2006. On the evening of July 30, 2008, a 22-year-old Canadian man named Tim McLean was riding on the same Greyhound bus as Vince Weiguang Li. The bus was traveling from Edmonton to Winnipeg. According to witnesses, while McLean was sleeping on the bus, Li suddenly produced a large knife and began to stab him repeatedly in the neck and chest until he decapitated him. Li then displayed McLean’s severed head to other passengers as they fled the bus in horror. The event took place approximately 30 km west of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on the Trans Canada Highway.

On several occasions, Li went back to the body, severed parts, and consumed some of McLean’s flesh. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) responded to the call and found the suspect still on board the bus. The other passengers were huddled at the roadside, some of them crying and vomiting. Witnesses continually observed the suspect stabbing and cutting McLean’s body, and carrying McLean’s severed head. Five hours after the murder, the suspect attempted to escape from the bus by breaking through a window.

Vince Weiguang Li was tazed twice, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Inside of his pockets, the police found parts of the victim’s body. This included McLean’s ears, nose, and tongue. The victim’s eyes and part of his heart were never recovered and are presumed to have been eaten by Li. Vince Weiguang Li’s trial started on March 3, 2009 and he plead not criminally responsible due to insanity. He was remanded to a high-security mental health facility where he remains to this day.

Matej Curko

Until August 2011, people in the village of Sokol, Slovakia, knew Matej Curko as an ordinary guy that lived with his wife and two children. In reality, he is the latest person to be caught cannibalizing victims he met on the Internet. We will never know the full story behind the “Slovak Cannibal” because he was shot and killed by police. However, in his online conversations, Curko is quoted as saying “I am not a rapist, not gay, I am just a pervert who wants to feel death.” In the summer of 2011, police were contacted by a Swiss man who said that Curko was attempting to coerce him into suicide and cannibalism on the Internet. The police responded by putting together an online operation where Curko was tricked into meeting an agent.

After officers rushed the scene, Curko pulled out a gun, so a sniper shot him five times. Curko later died in the hospital. After a search of his home, police found a large collection of human body parts in his “fridge of horrors.” Curko kept the body parts of his victims for later consumption. Inside the fridge, police found the remains of two Slovakian women who disappeared in 2010. The women are thought to have volunteered themselves for murder and cannibalization. Police are now attempting to link Matej Curko to the disappearance of thirty Italian women between January 2009 and May 2011. The case shocked people in Slovakia and made us all wonder how a seemingly ordinary man could carry out such violent acts.

Peter Bryan

In 1969, Peter Bryan was born In London. His parents were immigrants from Barbados. In 1994, Bryan was sent to Rampton Secure Hospital after admitting to the unlawful killing of a 20-year-old shop assistant named Nisha Sheth, who was beaten to death with a hammer in 1993. In October 2003, psychiatrists noted that there had been “a continued improvement in his mental state” and talked of plans to move Peter Bryan to a more independent accommodation. In January 2004, social workers applied for a transfer to a “low-support accommodation.” He was described as a nice man, lonely with no friends.

However, in early 2004, Bryan was transferred to an open psychiatric ward at Newham General Hospital after allegations that he had indecently assaulted a 16-year-old girl. In February 2004, he walked out of the mental health unit in Newham, east London and cannibalized his friend Brian Cherry. Cherry was killed by at least 24 hammer blows to the head. On the night in question, one of Cherry’s friends Nicola Newman let herself into his flat around 7.15pm and noticed a strong smell of disinfectant. Peter Bryan then emerged from the kitchen bare-chested, holding a knife, and announced: “Brian is dead.” She didn’t believe him at first until she saw Cherry’s body with his arms and legs separated.

The police arrived to find Peter Bryan standing in the hallway in the dark with bloodstained hands, jeans, and shoes. In the kitchen officers noticed a small amount of human flesh in a frying pan next to an open tub of Clover butter. The meat was part of Brian Cherry’s brain. The police also found brain tissue and hair matted with blood on a plate next to a knife and fork on the draining board. Peter Bryan told officers he had killed Mr. Cherry and “I ate his brain with butter, it was really nice.” He later added: “I would have done someone else if you hadn’t come along. I wanted their souls.”

While at Pentonville jail, Bryan told a member of the staff that he wanted to eat someone’s nose and prison officers had to use riot shields when unlocking his cell in case of attack. Despite the danger, doctors believed that Peter Bryan, who had a long history of brutal violence and deception, should be transferred to a medium risk ward. He was moved to Broadmoor Hospital, where he killed his third victim, a fellow patient, Richard Loudwell, aged 60. Bryan battered Loudwell and tied a ligature around his neck. Mr. Loudwell died in the hospital later that day. Peter Bryan said that if he had not been interrupted he would have eaten Loudwell’s flesh.

On March 15, 2005, Peter Bryan pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to two counts of manslaughters on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Judge Giles Forrester said: “You killed on these last two occasions because it gave you a thrill and a feeling of power when you ate flesh.” Bryan, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, will never be released from jail. 

Joachim Kroll

In 1933, Joachim Kroll was born in Hindenburg (Zabrze), Province of Upper Silesia. In 1955, Kroll started a deadly killing spree in Germany. He would surprise his victims and strangle them. Kroll would then perform sexual acts on the body, mutilate it, and cut off pieces to be eaten. At the time, the police were aware that they were dealing with a human cannibal because of the skinned corpses. On July 3, 1976, Kroll was arrested for killing a four-year-old girl named Marion Kettner. As the police searched his home, a neighbor told them that when he asked Kroll what was clogging his pipes, he simply replied: “Guts.”

The police found the body of Marion Kettner dismembered in Kroll’s house. Some of her parts were in the fridge, and Kroll was in the process of cooking a small hand on the stove. The entrails of the girl were found stuck in the waste-pipe. Kroll was immediately arrested and he confessed to thirteen murders. He was labeled the Ruhr Cannibal, Ruhr Hunter, and the Duisburg Man-Eater by the German media. At his trial, Kroll said that he often sliced portions of the flesh from his victims to save money on his grocery bills. In 1982, Joachim Kroll was convicted of mass murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died of a heart attack in 1991, in Rheinbach. 

Özgür Dengiz

In 1980, Özgür Dengiz was born in Ankara, Turkey. When he was 17, Dengiz killed a friend and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served three years before being released on parole. On June 5, 2007, Dengiz killed Sedat Erzurumlu, a computer engineer, who angered him by saying that he could not afford to buy the laptop he was looking at. Three months later, Dengiz shot and killed a garbage collector at the Mamak Dump. A few hours later, he murdered a 55-year-old municipal worker. Dengiz skinned the corpse with a cleaver, ate some of the flesh raw, and put the rest in a bag.

He then abandoned the corpse at the Mamak Dump and put the human flesh in his refrigerator. Upon returning to the apartment, Dengiz gave a piece of human flesh to a group of stray dogs. He was eventually caught after the police traced him to a series of calls made with one of the victim’s mobile phones. The police quickly searched Dangiz’s apartment and discovered a collection of fresh human meat in the refrigerator.

Özgür Dengiz was arrested, but showed no remorse for his crimes, saying he was irresistibly drawn to eating human flesh. He is quoted: “I love to eat human flesh. It makes me ecstatic. We are fools to have been eating beef for so long.” The only emotion he displayed during his confession was periodic fits of laughter. After making his statement, Dengiz was sent to prison, but I can’t find information on his official sentence or current whereabouts. His crimes caused public outcry in Turkey, where cannibalism is a strong cultural taboo. A Turkish Cypriot journalist said: “Dengiz appears to be Turkey’s first man-eater and perhaps one of its few psychopaths.” However, Turkish serial killer Adnan Çolak is also known to have cannibalized a victim. In the media, Çolak was known as the “Artvin Monster,” while Dengiz the “Cannibal of Ankara.”

John Bunting and Robert Wagner

John Bunting has been labeled “Australia’s worst serial killer.” Between August 1992 and May 1999, he organized and carried out the Snowtown murders. The crimes were discovered when the remains of eight victims were found in barrels at a rented bank building in Snowtown, South Australia. Immediately after the discovery, a man named John Bunting became the main suspect in the case. Bunting was found to be the ringleader of a group of murderers. Under the instruction of Bunting, the group would prey on the weak and steal their welfare payments. The killers targeted people they thought were pedophiles and homosexuals. The murder spree led to one of the longest and most expensive investigations in Australia’s history.

In 2005, it was revealed that John Bunting and Robert Wagner cannibalized the remains of one of their victims, a man named David Johnson. During a confidential police interview with accomplice James Vlassakis, he said: “They hacked at David Johnson’s body to make sure it would fit in the barrel and then hacked a little bit more, taking a sliver of flesh from the right thigh. There was no remorse. No second thoughts. They heated a frying pan, cooked the flesh, and ate it.”

There have been more than 230 suppression orders in the case and the Australian government is extremely reluctant to release any information about the cannibalism. The occurrence remains one of the few occurrences of criminal cannibalism in the history of Australia. John Bunting and Robert Wagner are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. In 2010, federal legislation prohibited capital punishment in all Australian states and territories.

Alexander Spesivtsev

In 1970, Alexander Spesivtsev was born in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia. He was raised in an abusive home and had a violent father. As an adult, Spesivtsev was convicted of murdering his girlfriend and committed to a psychiatric institution, but later released. In 1991, he began a deadly murder spree. Spesivtsev killed children he saw unfit or detrimental to society and was responsible for the murders of at least 19 street kids. He took the bodies back to his house, cooked them, and ate the meat with the help of his mother, Lyudmila. After news of the horrible crimes reached the Russian media they named Spesivtsev “The Cannibal of Siberia.”

Alexander Spesivtsev was captured in 1996 after a pipe broke near his home and forced neighbors to call a plumber. The problem was determined to be coming from Spesivtsev apartment. When nobody answered his door, the suspicious plumber opened it by force. He saw blood covering the walls and called the police. In his kitchen police discovered bowls with pieces of human flesh. In the bathtub they found a mutilated, headless body. A woman was found mutilated, but still alive on the sofa. She was taken to a hospital, where she was able to tell the public prosecutor about what had happened, but died seventeen hours later.

In the house, police discovered a diary which detailed the murder of nineteen girls, but Spesivtsev is generally suspected of having killed 80 people (because 80 different pieces of bloody clothing were found). On October 5, 1999, Spesivtsev was ruled insane by a Russian court and committed to a psychiatric hospital. He remains at the psychiatric hospital to this day. Lyudmila Spesivtsev denied any involvement in the murders, but was convicted as an accomplice and given thirteen years in prison. The case remains one of the worst examples of human cannibalism in Russian history.

Ratu Udre Udre

During the 19th century, the Fijian people were known around the world for ritualistic cannibalism. Udre Udre was a Fijian commoner. He holds the Guinness World Record for “most prolific cannibal.” Udre Udre reportedly ate between 872 and 999 people. He kept a stone for each body and the stones were placed alongside his tomb in Rakiraki, in northern Viti Levu after his death. According to Udre Udre’s son, the chiefs of Rakiraki would go to the battlefield along with Udre Udre and they would each give him every body part of their victims, especially the head. Udre Udre preserved the human remains and ate them. He believed that after he consumed the 1000th body, he would become immortal. 

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