The Cannibal Who Ate a Woman and Somehow Managed to Walk Free

Cannibalism has been practiced since the beginning of time. While it may have began with prehistoric human beings, it continues to linger in tucked away locations around the world such the South Pacific, notably New Guinea. But human cannibals also exist among us, we just aren’t aware of it.

Back in 1981, a Japanese fellow named Issei Sagawa kidnapped, murdered and cannibalized a young Dutch student in Paris. She was a student named Renée Hartevelt.

Sagawa’s crime was revealed when the two suitcases containing her dismembered body were found by a jogger in Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outer edge of Paris. Three days earlier, he had shot Hartevelt and then continued to eat various parts of her body at his leisure.

When police arrested him, they found parts of her body still chilling in his fridge.

According to reports, Issei explained, “I killed her to eat her flesh.”

However, it wasn’t long before he was allowed to walk free and escape a life behind bars.

Since Sagawa was confirmed to be legally insane and unfit to stand trial, he was shipped off to a mental hospital in Paris. But once the public caught wind of what was going on they demanded their country deport him. They didn’t want their taxes going towards supporting a woman-eater.

After his release on August 12, 1986, he ended up becoming somewhat of a minor celebrity in Japan and managed to make a living off the public’s interest in his horrific crime.

In the video below, VICE catches up with Sagawa 30 years after becoming a free man.