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France jails man who cooked and ate cellmate's lung

A French court has convicted a man dubbed "the cannibal of Rouen" of killing his cellmate and eating part of the man's lung and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

The court ruled that 39-year-old Nicolas Cocaign may not benefit from early release until he has served 20 years. It also ordered that he receive psychiatric treatment.

The conviction and sentence was in line with the state prosecutor's request. Prosecutor Elisabeth Pelsez said she did not seek a life sentence, the maximum in France, because experts said the defendant was mentally unstable.

Cocaign was charged with murder and acts of barbarism at the trial in the Normandy city of Rouen. Cocaign acknowledged responsibility for the 2007 killing in his testimony this week.

A medical examiner testified the victim was still alive when Cocaign cut open his chest.

Before the jury went into deliberations, Cocaign addressed the mother, three sisters and brother of the victim, Thierry Baudry.

"I want to excuse myself before the Baudry family," he said, "if they accept my apology."

Cocaign's lawyer, Fabien Pichiottino, had argued that his client was not responsible for his action because of his mental state and asked that he be placed in a psychiatric hospital.

"What he did horrifies me," the lawyer told the victim's family. "(But) one doesn't judge the insane."

However, the prosecutor's argument won out. "Horror is not synonymous with folly," she said.


From Belfast Telegraph