Alleged Cannibal Charged With Killing Cellmate, Eating His Lung

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A French inmate who is charged with murder and acts of barbarism after stabbing, suffocating and cannibalizing a fellow prisoner has gone on trial in the city of Rouen, France.

Thierry Baudry was found on January 3, 2007 by a prison guard. The 41-year-old had been brutally beaten and mutilated, with two of his chest muscles and part of his left lung missing. Accused of the grisly crime is his cellmate, Nicolas Cocaign, 39, who according to defense attorneys had repeatedly requested psychiatric help in the weeks leading up to the killing.

Instead, a fight between the two over a matter of personal hygeine led him to punching Baudry in the stomach and face, as well as stabbing him with a pair of scissors. He then suffocated him with a garbage bag before cutting open his chest, breaking his rib, and removing what he thought was the dead man’s heart. He ate a piece of the organ—which turned out to be his left lung—raw, then fried another piece on a portable camping stove, adding salt, pepper, olive oil and onions.

Asked about his motive, Cocaign initially said that the “inner workings of Baudry’s personality” fascinated him, and that he “wanted to take his soul.” Later, however, he admitted that he was “curious to see what he taste[d] like.”

After the charges were read against him, Cocaign took responsibility for the slaying but claimed diminished responsibility because of his mental state. He has been hospitalized three times between 1997 and 2007 for psychiatric conditions, after having forced his wife to take part in sadomasochistic sex against her will.

Defense attorney Fabien Picchiottino, said during the trial that Cocaign suffered from “severe psychological problems” and should be in a “psychiatric institute and not a prison.” He also added that his client had been abandoned by his mother at a very young age and had experienced numerous run-ins with the law during both his youth and adulthood. Cocaign himself said in court that he is now getting treatment, and that he feels “stable.”

Cocaign was in the Rouen prison for armed attempted rape. His victim was serving time on charges of sexual assault.

A third inmate, David Lagrue, was present in the cell at the time and witnessed the killing. Initially suspected of complicity but later cleared, Lagrue was so disturbed by the incident that he committed suicide in another correctional facility in November 2009.

 

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