This combo made with undated photos made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept. shows Rudy Eugene, 31, left, who police shot and killed as he ate the face of Ronald Poppo, 65, right, during a horrific attack in the shadow of the Miami Herald's headquarters.
This combo made with undated photos made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept. shows Rudy Eugene, 31, left, who police shot and killed as he ate the face of Ronald Poppo, 65, right, during a horrific attack in the shadow of the Miami Herald's headquarters.

Top 5 true-life cannibal tales

Time of article published Jun 1, 2012

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Is it the start of the zombie apocalypse? With all the cannibal stories we’ve covered over the past few years, it sure seems so.

Here are some of our “favourites”.

1 Naked man ‘was chewing on victim’s face’

The story that had us gripped this week: a Miami police officer fatally shot a naked man found chewing on the face of another man on a downtown causeway off-ramp. The bloody spectacle unfolded mid-afternoon on Saturday, when police were alerted by the public as the attack was being carried out near Miami's MacArthur Causeway. Police ordered a naked Rudy Eugene, 31, to stop the assault, then fatally shot him when he continued to gnaw at the face of his victim, who was also naked.

Television footage and news photos have shown the two men sprawled on the sidewalk side by side, with the victim barely conscious and covered in blood with up to 75 percent of his face ripped off. The victim, identified as 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo, is reportedly fighting for his life in hospital.

Eugene's on-off girlfriend of five years, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Miami Herald that “nice guy” Eugene had either been drugged unknowingly or it was something supernatural - that someone put a voodoo curse on him.

“I don’t know how else to explain this,” she told the Miami Herald.

2 ‘I longed to eat a human’

A chef in Russia confessed to luring a man to his flat so he could kill and eat him and then posted videos of the dishes he made from the corpse on the internet.

The 21-year-old, only identified as Ivan L, confessed to police in the Arctic city of Murmansk last September that he had long wanted to eat a human and had pretended to be gay to get his victim to come to his home.

“I brought a person here and killed him,” Ivan said in a police video later posted on the LifeNews website. The video shows the chef re-enacting the murder with a shop dummy head and a knife.

“I proposed that he get undressed and get in the bath and there I killed him,” said Ivan on the video, where his face is pixelated out. “I turned him over, filled the bath with water so that the body would soften, then I cut it into bits, across, and fried in the pan. I added tomato puree, oil, fried and ate it all.”

Videos of the chef showing how to make dishes including beef patty and sausage from the body were posted on the internet, LifeNews reported, but were later removed by the police.

“The only motive for the murder was his desire to taste human flesh,” local police chief Fyodor Blyudyonov told reporters.

3 Cannibal killer ate his cellmate

While there could be no valid reason to eat a fellow human being, “a dirty look” seems rather petty.

In June 2010, French prisoner Nicolas Cocaign told a court how he had murdered his cellmate and ate one of his lungs “because he gave me a dirty look”.

Cocaign, who admitted the charges but was claiming diminished responsibility, admitted initially attacking Thierry Baudry over a row about personal hygiene. Angry about the way Baudry kept blocking the toilet they shared with paper, Cocaign confronted him in January 2007 and was met with a “dirty look which was very aggressive”.

The two started fighting, with Cocaign punching Baudry at least a dozen times in the face and stomach, before stabbing him with a pair of scissors.

Cocaign, a married father of two who was on remand facing armed robbery charges, then suffocated Baudry with a bin bag before starting to eat him.

The court heard that, soon after the attack, Cocaign told police: “I ate his heart to take his soul.”

But a post mortem later revealed that he had in fact eaten one of his lungs by mistake, some of which he fried with onions, olive oil, salt and pepper on a portable camping stove which the prisoners were able to use.

Cocaign was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the gruesome murder.

4 ‘Cannibal monster’ arrested in China

What’s worse - being a cannibal or being an unsuspecting cannibal? Last month police in south-west China detained a man suspected of murdering more than a dozen boys and young men, chopping up their bodies and selling the flesh to unsuspecting consumers.

Zhang Yongming, 56, was being investigated over the murder of a 19-year-old man in late April, the Guangxi News website reported.

Police searching Zhang's home found the young man's cellphone, bank card and other evidence, according to the website. Hong Kong newspaper The Standard also said that police entering Zhang's home discovered human eyeballs preserved inside wine bottles and pieces of what appeared to be human flesh hanging in the house to dry.

Zhang, who had previously served almost 20 years in jail for murder, was reportedly known in the village as the “cannibal monster”. According to The Standard, police feared he had fed human flesh to his three dogs, while selling other parts on the market, calling it “ostrich meat”.

Reports also said that more than a dozen other teenagers had gone missing from the village over the years. It said Beijing has dispatched a team of experts to Yunnan to supervise the investigation into the missing teenagers and two local police chiefs have been dismissed from their positions, the official Xinhua news agency said.

5 Man thought he beheaded an alien

Now imagine you’re sitting on the bus and the person next to you suddenly thinks you’re lunch. That’s what happened to poor Tim McLean, a young carnival worker who just happened to sit next to Vince Li on a Greyhound bus in Canada.

Li repeatedly stabbed McLean, who had been asleep on the seat next to him, cut off his head, removed his internal organs, pocketed his nose, tongue and an ear, and taunted police and bystanders with the severed head.

Police said in court documents that Li “appeared to smell, and then eat parts of Tim McLean's flesh” and “lick blood from his hands” as they surrounded the bus on a desolate highway, soon after the attack.

Authorities found body parts littered throughout the bus, some in white plastic bags. McLean's eyes and a third of his heart were also missing, and it is presumed Li ate them.

The other 35 passengers and the driver were jolted by “blood-curdling screams” and fled, said witnesses, bracing the door after their escape to trap Li inside the bus. He was subdued by police after a three-hour standoff.

After being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Li was found not guilty of murdering McLean. He has been holed up since his trial at a mental health centre, where he has received treatment and is now eligible for escorted day trips into the community.

Last month, he spoke out for the first time saying he had purchased the knife used in the attack for protection “from the aliens” and claimed that he was unaware at that time that he suffered from schizophrenia.

“I was really scared. I remember cutting off his head. I believed he was an alien. The voices told me to kill him, that he would kill me or others. I do not believe this now,” Li said. - Agencies

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