'Hannibal Lecter' Trial Stuns France
Man who ate cellmate's lung blames prison system
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Jun 23, 2010 7:11 AM CDT
Nicolas Cocaign, 38, is charged with murder and "acts of barbarism" over the gruesome killing.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – The trial of a man accused of cooking and eating part of his cellmate has put the spotlight on France's overcrowded prison system. Prosecutors say Nicolas Cocaign killed his victim with a pair of scissors in a dispute over the cell's toilet, pulled out one of his lungs—believing it was his heart—and cooked it with garlic and rice. A third cellmate who witnessed the gruesome events later committed suicide, ABC reports.

Cocaign—who admits murder but denies a charge of "acts of barbarism"—says prison authorities ignored his request for psychological help. "No one was listening to me," he told the court. "I made several appeals for help, saying I was a man capable of being dangerous. I took action, and then they took me seriously." The victim's family says some of the blame lies with the severely overcrowded conditions at the jail.