Around forty years ago, a Japanese man killed a young student, eating some of her body parts and raping the mutilated remains. Although Issei Sagawa can be arrested, he does not have to pay for his sentence. Instead he writes books. Now the 73-year-old has died.

Noted Japanese cannibal and womanizer Issei Sagawa is dead. He died of pneumonia on November 24, his brother and a friend said in a statement released by a book publisher. The murderer, known from his memoirs, interviews and a documentary, was buried in a small circle. Sagawa was 73 years old.

Sagawa killed 25-year-old Dutch student Renée Hartevelt while studying abroad in Paris in 1981. He shot her from behind in his apartment and ate several parts of her body over three days. Aroused by the mutilation process, he then raped the corpse. When he tried to dispose of her remains in the Bois de Boulogne park, he was arrested. According to police, seven kilos of human tissue were found in his refrigerator, as well as the audio recording of the murder and the murder weapon.

French experts considered Sagawa to be of unsound mind, so he was first placed in a psychiatric facility in France before being deported to Japan. However, the Japanese authorities did not find that Sagawa had a psychosis, only a personality disorder – but since the charges in France had been dropped, Sagawa was released again. A renewed indictment was no longer legally possible.

The Japanese never made a secret of his cruel crime – he even capitalized on it: In his novel-like memoirs (English title: “In the Fog”) he describes the course of events in detail. He once told the medium “Vice” that he had been “obsessed with cannibalism” since early youth. “My desire to eat a woman had turned into an obligation.”