A trainee rabbi was strangled by a "tattooed rent boy type" and his body
dismembered after a night drinking in a gay bar, a court heard yesterday.
Gifted linguist Andreas Hinz's limbs and head had been "sawn off", they were
wrapped in bin liners and put out for the dustman.
But refuse collectors failed to arrive, and a combination of summer heat,
a "terrible smell" and a cloud of flies eventually led to the gruesome discovery,
London's Southwark crown court was told.
Within days Thomas McDowell had been arrested and confessed to the killing
during a walk with a police officer in an exercise yard, said Michael Lawson,
He told the jury that the 27-year-old - who denies murder but admits
manslaughter - first described choking his victim to death after laying him out with
a "martial arts" kick.
According to the officer's recollection, the defendant then added: "I sat with him
all night ... it all happened so quickly. I don't understand it. I have been having
nightmares ... I am not a violent man."
A later search of McDowell's flat revealed traces of Mr Hinz's blood despite
intensive efforts to bleach away any incriminating evidence.
The dead man's Hebrew numbered watch was also found along with his briefcase,
as well as a couple of stained bags thought to have been used to
temporarily store his limbs.
McDowell, of Camden, north London, denies one count of murder on July 3, 2002,
but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished
Opening the trial, counsel told jurors that they had to decide whether the
defendant intended to kill his victim or at least cause him "really serious
harm". He said that Mr Hinz, a 37-year-old German in the second year of a
course to become a rabbi, had been described by one of his flatmates as "complex
and gifted". Mr Lawson said Mr Hinz was a gay man who spent two to three evenings a week
at the Black Cap gay bar near Camden tube station. The night before
his death he arrived at the place at about 11pm and spent some time
drinking alone before striking up a conversation with the defendant.
Bar staff, asked to recall the evening, described McDowell as a "somewhat
unkempt rent boy type" with tattooed arms and what they thought was a
Scottish accent. They also spoke of having seen him earlier, drunk and
complaining that he had been "dumped" by his long-term boyfriend.
Mr Hinz's torso was found to have been wrapped in bin liners and tied up with a
length of flex. His limbs and head were then found later by police in more
plastic bags in the bins. With them were his skull cap and credit cards.
The trial continues.