Trial of France’s cannibal killer reaches final stages

Photo: Urban

The verdict from the trial of Nicolas Cocaign, a prisoner dubbed France’s “Hannibal Lecter”, is to be handed down from a court in the north-west city of Rouen. Cocaign is charged with murder, torture and committing barbaric acts after he allegedly murdered his cellmate and then ate part of his lung in 2007.


Nicolas Cocaign told the court how he attacked and stabbed Thierry Baudry with a pair of scissors before suffocating him with a rubbish bag.

Cocaign said he then sliced his victim’s chest open with a razor blade and ate part of his lung raw before cooking the rest with onions on a camping stove.

The incident was witnessed by a third cellmate, David Lagrue, who suffered severe psychological trauma following the event and committed suicide in another prison in November 2009.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Pelsez has demanded a 30-year jail sentence with no possibility of parole for 20 years.

She has dismissed the proposal of a reduced sentence on account of mental instability saying "a man who plunges into horror is not necessarily afflicted with madness," a view which the majority of psychiatrists involved with the case have upheld.

On Monday, however, Cocaign told the court that if prison authorities had taken notice of his numerous pleas for psychological help, the murder might have been avoided.

"I made several appeals for help, saying I was a man capable of being dangerous,” he said, adding “I took action, and then they took me seriously".

Cocaign, a married father of two, was originally in prison on armed robbery charges.

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