BERLIN (Reuters) - German investigators said on Tuesday they suspect a man and woman in their forties of torturing to death at least two women in their house in western Germany and of cutting up the body of one victim and burning it in their living room.
They have not ruled out that a third woman died and said there were indications that more women had survived abuse or torture.
Police have sealed off what German media have already described as a "house of horrors" in the small town of Hoexter, on the border of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, and are searching for clues of any further incidents.
Prosecutor Ralf Meyer told reporters that investigators believe a 33-year old woman was chained and beaten after responding to a lonely hearts advertisement and moving into the house in autumn of 2013. She died on Aug 1, 2014.
"There was serious physical abuse - beating, being chained to a radiator, having to sleep on a cold floor," said Meyer, adding that the woman eventually died due to her deteriorating condition.
He said investigators based their suspicions on credible statements from 47-year old Angelika B. who had confessed, saying she was under the spell of her ex-partner, 46, identified only as Wilfried W. He has denied any guilt.
Police were drawn to the house after a woman, aged 41 and identified as Susanne F., died in hospital last month from injuries related to torture.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers Editing by Jeremy Gaunt