Europe

French cannibal killer Cocaign jailed for 30 years

Nicolas Cocaign at the Rouen courthouse - 21 June 2010
Image caption Cocaign said he repeatedly asked for psychiatric help

A French man accused of killing a fellow prison inmate and then eating part of his body has been sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Nicolas Cocaign was convicted of murder accompanied by acts of torture and brutality at a court in Rouen.

Cocaign admitted beating and stabbing Thierry Baudry before smothering him with a rubbish bag in a Rouen jail in 2007.

His lawyers had argued that he should be declared criminally insane.

The court heard that Cocaign killed Baudry after an argument over the state of the toilets.

In the four-day trial, Cocaign - dubbed the cannibal of Rouen by the French press - testified that he cut open Baudry's chest with a razor blade and ripped out what he thought was his heart but in fact was a piece of lung.

He than ate part of the lung raw before frying the rest with onions on a camping stove in his cell.

'Totally mad'

"He killed him because he is mad, totally mad," said defence lawyer Fabien Picchiottino, addressing Baudry's mother.

But prosecutor Elizabeth Pelsez argued: "A man who plunges into horror is not necessarily afflicted with madness."

Cocaign told the court that prison authorities had ignored his repeated appeals for psychological help.

"No-one was listening to me," he said. "I made several appeals for help, saying I was a man capable of being dangerous. I took action, and then they took me seriously.

Before the jury retired to consider its verdict, Cocaign apologised to Baudry's mother and sisters.

He had been serving a sentence for attempted rape at the time of Baudry's murder.

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