A woman has gone on trial in Munich on charges of murdering her lover with an electric circular saw.
The 32-year-old woman, named only as Gabrielle P under German privacy laws, is accused of killing her boyfriend while he was tied to the bed and blindfolded during a sex game.
After the killing, prosecutors allege she used the saw to cut off the head of her 28-year-old victim, who has been variously named as Alex H and Sebastian H in the German press.
Gabrielle P admits the killing but her defence lawyers plan to argue it was an unpremeditated act of desperation.
She had been driven to despair after Alex H forced her to take part in degrading sex games, they told the court as the trial opened on Monday.
Although the killing took place in 2008, when Gabrielle P was 23, it was not discovered until February last year, when Alex H’s dismembered body was found buried in the garden of the house where they lived together in Munich.
Gabrielle P and Alex H met when she was only 16, the court was told. After she turned 18, they moved into the house together, but their relationship was tempestuous.
“He was two different people,” Gabrielle H told the court. “The one I fell in love with was cultured and funny.”
But Alex H had another side, she claimed. Her lawyers plan to present a diary in which they say she kept a record of degrading sex practices he forced her to take part in.
In December 2008 the couple had a major row and she threw him out of the house, the court was told.
They later patched up their differences and she allowed him to return. Prosecutors allege that she was only making a show of reconciliation and had already decided to kill him.
On the night of the killing, Alex H blindfolded himself with a pair of diving goggles blacked out with masking tape and told Gabrielle P to tie him to the bed.
Once he was secured, she is accused of killing him by holding the running circular saw through his chest.
The defence claims the saw was in the room because the couple were making renovations, and that she reached for it on the spur of the moment.
After Alex H was dead, Gabrielle P used the saw to remove his head from his body then covered his remains with a sheet. She did not return to the room and left the body undisturbed for six months.
It was not until she brought a new lover, Christian K, to the house that the body was discovered.
Instead of alerting the authorities, Christian K helped her bury the dismembered corpse in the garden of the house.
He has already been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for hiding the body in a separate trial.
Alex H’s adoptive parents raised the alarm after his disappearance but were told he had moved to Romania with a new girlfriend and wanted to break off contact. A false sighting in 2010 appeared to corroborate the story.
The dead man’s 63-year-old adoptive mother, named only as Thea E, rejected Gabrielle P’s version of events at Monday’s hearing.
“Gabi is lying,” she said. “I’d like to look into her eyes and see if she’s really such a cold monster.”