German cannibal serial killer Joachim Kroll confessed to murdering 13 women and one man, mutilating their bodies and eating slices of their flesh.

After his mother’s death in 1955, Kroll set off on a 20-year killing spree that earned him the names “Ruhr Cannibal”, “Ruhr Hunter” and “Duisburg Man-Eater”.

But Kroll was only caught in 1976 when his neighbours complained about the unholy smell of rotting flesh coming from their drains.

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Detective Max Riese, a tough 20-year veteran of the Duisburg police fainted when he eventually discovered Kroll’s lair on the fourth floor of a block of apartments in Laar, West Germany.

Kroll had fooled his neighbours for years. The children in his neighbourhood nicknamed him “Uncle Joachim,” because he was so kind and generous, and they loved spending time in his tiny apartment, filled with toys and dolls.

But in secret “Uncle Joachim” would use his dolls to practice strangling little girls. He also had a secret collection of inflatable sex dolls, which he also used to rehearse his horrific sex crimes.

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Kroll’s first murder – that of Irmgard Strehl – was initially classified as a gang rape by German police because of the sheer quantity of semen found in the 19-year-old’s vagina.

The young girl’s disembowelled body was found in a barn in Lüdinghausen.

It was the first of an escalating series of murders. The fact that there were a number of other killers operating in the area at the time helped the monster to evade capture.

It wasn’t until July 1976, that Kroll was finally arrested.

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As police investigating the murder of a four-year-old girl named Marion Ketter were conducting house-to-house inquiries, one local approached a policeman and told him the waste-pipe in his apartment building had blocked up. When he had asked his neighbour Kroll whether he knew what had been blocking the pipe, he had simply replied "guts".

It was then that Max Riese entered Kroll's apartment and found the dismembered body of Marion Ketter.

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Some parts were in the refrigerator, one of her hands was being boiled on the stove and the girl’s intestines were blocking the drains.

Kroll told arresting officers that he often sliced portions of flesh from his victims to cook and eat them, in order to “to save on his grocery bills”.

He added that his murderous desires started when, as a teenager, he saw pigs being slaughtered, and had been aroused by the sight of blood.

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In April 1982, after a 151-day trial, he was convicted on eight counts of murder and handed a life sentence.

In July 1991, in Rheinbach prison, the monster suffered fatal heart attack. He was 58.

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