Berlin - A Canadian man suspected of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student, then posting a video of the grisly crime online, was arrested in an Internet cafe in Berlin on Monday after an international manhunt.
Interpol had issued a “red notice” - its highest type of warning - for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who faces first degree murder charges in the death of 32-year-old Jun Lin.
Magnotta, who used at least three identities and was an avid Internet user, is believed to have killed Lin with an pick axe, dismembered and defiled his body and then mailed some of the body parts to political parties in the Canadian capital Ottawa.
“There was great relief among investigators when we heard this news,” Montreal police spokesperson Ian Lafreiniere told reporters in the Canadian city where the murder took place.
“He used the web to glorify himself, and it was the web that got him arrested.”
The gruesome murder prompted the largest manhunt in Montreal's history, Lafreiniere said. German police picked up the trail after a tip-off from French authorities, who realised Magnotta - who European media have dubbed the “Canadian psycho” - had caught a bus to Berlin from France.
“He should have known that there are identity checks when you travel by coach,” a French police source said.
The owner of the Berlin Internet cafe, Kadir Anlayisli, told Reuters Television: “I wasn't sure if it was him but then I looked at some pictures and thought, that is definitely him. He spoke French, said 'monsieur' and wanted to use the Internet.”
Anlayisli said he stepped out of the cafe, on Berlin's busy Karl Marx Strasse in the multi-cultural neighbourhood of Neukoelln, stopped a passing police van and told them, “I have someone here you might be looking for”.
Magnotta left a bizarre Internet trail as an alleged kitten-killer and bisexual porn star, and Lafreniere said police had not ruled out the possibility that he was involved in other crimes.
The suspect is being held at a Berlin police station. Interpol red notices require that the suspect be held under arrest pending extradition.
It is unclear when Magnotta might be returned to Canada. A spokesperson for Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson did not immediately reply to a question about extradition, while Lafreiniere said it would depend in part on whether Magnotta contested any application from Canada.
Magnotta is believed to have entered France on May 26, and French police had been investigating thousands of reported sightings. They alerted German police on Monday that he was headed for Berlin on a Eurolines coach, the French police source said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he wanted to congratulate German and French police for their good work.
Montreal police say they found a bloody mattress and pools of blood on the floor and in the refrigerator of Magnotta's apartment. A janitor found a torso with no head or limbs in a suitcase in an alley behind the building, while a decomposing foot mailed to the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party and a hand found inside a package at a postal depot are parts of the same person.
China on Monday urged its nationals in Canada to take increased safety precautions.
“The methods used in the crime were brutal. The nature and impact of this crime were utterly horrible and we feel deeply shocked,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said. - Reuters