Ex-girlfriends of self-confessed cannibal Armin Meiwes told a German court Friday he was always kind to children and desperately wanted to marry and have children of his own.
The women said they had no notion of his other side: that he was simultaneously seeking gay males to kill, his home contained a slaughterhouse and his computer was full of images of butchery.
One woman said she had split with him after he said he was gay.
After days of sickening evidence about how Meiwes, 43, carved up a Berlin engineer while the victim was still alive -- allegedly with the man's consent -- the court in the northern town of Kassel was hearing character evidence.
Meiwes' half-brother, 48, said the younger boy used to build model houses and mess around in the garden and showed no interest as a child in violence or killing animals. "He was a normal kid who used to get into fights with other kids sometimes," he said.
The brother said he was flabbergasted when told Meiwes was accused of cannibalism.
One woman, 39, said, "He gave a rather childish impression. When he was playing with my children, it was as if he were a child himself."
She added, "You could tell he really enjoyed being with my family." She said she had broken off the relationship before any sexual contact, because Meiwes had admitted homosexual tendencies.
"Armin is a very emotive and sensitive person," she said.
Meiwes earlier claimed to the court he broke up with her because she did not want to have any more children.
Another woman, a neighbor, testified that Meiwes had shown interest in her and had once spoken of his desire to marry and have lots of children. She said the women in Wuestefeld, a tiny hamlet of 30 people where Meiwes lived, had all been fond of Meiwes.
"He joined in family life. He minded the children," she said. "We'd have him in for coffee."