Vladimir Nikolayevich Nikolayev, now 63, was convicted of two murders in 1997 and sentenced to death, a ruling overturned when capital punishment was abolished in Russia in 1999.
Speaking from behind bars at the notorious K-6 Dolphin prison, where he was transferred to serve his life sentence in 2001, Nikolayev explains how he had no prior intention to eat his first victim, and only decided to take a bite while dismembering his corpse.
He told Inside Russia’s Toughest Prisons: “I was coming home from a party a little drunk. And next to the door of my building another guy, also drunk, asked me for a light.
“We started arguing and got into a fight. He hit me, and I hit him, and it turned out he died.”
Nikolayev – whose horrific crimes earned him the nickname “Vladimir the Cannibal” – then says in a chillingly deadpan manner: “What was I to do? I dragged him to the bathroom, undressed him, and started cutting him apart.”
After explaining how he cut off the man’s head, arms and legs, he laughs as he describes the moment he decided to “try him”.
He goes on: “I cut off a piece of meat from his thigh and boiled it. I tried it, didn’t like it, so I chopped it up and fried it in a frying pan.”
But the horrors didn’t end there as Nikolayev decided to make his acquaintance, and his children, taste a human body against their will.
He said: “He took it home and gave it to his wife. She made dumplings with it, she had some herself and fed some to her children.
“They didn’t know what it was,” he added with a twisted grin.
The 63-year-old had been in and out of institutions his entire adult life and has been described in Russia as having an “antisocial personality” and psychopathic tendencies, according to a Russian murder website.
He was also dependent on alcohol, with him believed to have sold around 5kg (10lb) of human flesh as kangaroo meat at an open market and using the cash to buy booze.
Nikolayev was eventually rumbled after the woman who made dumplings with the meat became suspicious of the strange taste, and took it to a doctor to be tested.
The doctor found traces of human blood in the mincemeat and contacted the police.