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Man arrested in Berlin on suspicion of cannibalism

German police have arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of cannibalism after they found a pile of bones stripped completely of flesh in a Berlin suburb.

Man arrested in Berlin on suspicion of cannibalism
Archive photo: DPA

Berlin prosecutors said Friday they are “investigating at full speed to shed light on the sexual murder with suspicion of a cannibalistic background”.

The man was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the disappearance of a 44-year-old man in the German capital in September.

Police did not name the suspect, but Bild daily identified him as Stefan R., a high school maths and chemistry teacher.

Police published a photo of the victim, named as Stefan T., after he disappeared and sought information from the public, but without success.

The bones were found by people strolling in a park in the north-eastern Pankow district on November 8th, with forensic analysis later showing them to be Stefan T.'s remains.

Further forensic investigations then led them to the 41-year-old suspect, police said.

“Based on the bones found, which were completely stripped of flesh, and further evidence, we strongly suspect that Stefan T. was the victim of a cannibal,” a police officer told Bild.

Investigators reportedly found a large fridge in his cellar, but it was empty.

They also secured chats from an online platform where the victim and the suspect had arranged to meet, Bild reported.

The case recalls that of Detlev Günzel, a German ex-police officer convicted of murdering a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists and chopping him up in an S&M chamber.

READ ALSO: 'Cannibal cop' convicted of 'killing victim' in retrial

Günzel, 58, had cut the body into small pieces in a slaughter chamber he built in his cellar, before burying them in his garden. There was no evidence that he ate any part of his victim.

In another case that shocked Germany, Armin Meiwes, nicknamed the “cannibal of Rotenburg”, was sentenced to life in prison in 2006.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Berlin weighs up free public transport ticket for summer

Just a few weeks before the €9 ticket is due to be released, the Berlin Senate is mulling a new idea to offer free summer travel for people who sign up to subscriptions.

Berlin weighs up free public transport ticket for summer

According to reports in regional newspaper Tagesspiegel, the transport administration has pitched a three-month €0 ticket for customers that would run alongside the €9 ticket with the aim of pulling in new long-term customers.

In a letter obtained by Tagesschau and regional broadcaster RBB, the transport administration department told parliament that the free ticket would be exclusively available for new and existing season-ticket and subscription holders. 

“It is currently being discussed in Berlin to lower the prices for season tickets to €0 in the campaign months as an alternative to the €9 monthly ticket,” they wrote.

This could win over new customers and encourage them to start rolling subscriptions, they argued.  

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

The free ticket would run from the start of June until the end of August – just like the national €9 ticket – though it’s unclear if it would only be usable for local public transport in Berlin or if, like its €9 counterpart, regional and local routes nationwide would also be included in the offer. 

Pandemic effect

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Berlin and Brandenburg’s transport operators have lost a number of their original customers. Some have switched to cars or bicycles while others are simply travelling less due to continued home office or less post-pandemic socialising. 

Fewer subscriptions – known as Abos – have been sold by S-Bahn and BVG this year. The operators are concerned that this could lead to significant revenue losses over time.

By dangling the carrot of free transport, the Senate is hoping that it can encourage some of these customers to return over summer and start paying for subscriptions when autumn rolls around.

However, the transport administration has pointed out that talks with the federal government, other federal states, transport associations and the companies involved have not yet been concluded.

“There are different models and therefore many parties to be involved,” transport administration spokesman Jan Thomsen told RBB. “A decision is still open.”

According to the Senate’s estimates, the €0 scheme would cost Berlin around €22 million. 

READ ALSO: What tourists visiting Germany need to know about the €9 ticket

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