A nurse who fantasised about killing and eating a teenage girl has been convicted of sexual grooming.
Dale Bolinger, 58, bought an axe the day before he planned to meet the girl, whom he groomed online.
Jurors heard he chatted with someone on an online fetish network who said they were a Mexican girl called "Eva".
Bolinger was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court of attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.
In conversations on a website called the Dark Fetish Network (DFN), Bolinger, who will be sentenced in September, described sex acts he wanted to perform on her and how he would murder her and prepare her "for the table".
They arranged that Eva would travel from Germany and he went to Ashford International station to meet her, but she never arrived.
Uncovered by FBI
Bolinger, who had worked as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and was married for 34 years, had told police he had been interested in the idea of cannibalism since childhood.
When questioned about the images, he told detectives: "I do not find children sexually attractive but I do find them interesting as a food source."
Prosecutor Martin Yale told the trial internet chats involving Bolinger on the DFN site about beheading and eating women and girls were discovered by the FBI in New York.
Investigators traced the email address firstname.lastname@example.org to Kent and Bolinger was arrested when the information was passed to the Kent Police.
Bolinger, formerly of Canterbury, used a picture of supermodel Naomi Campbell on his profile and in chats with other users claimed to have eaten a 39-year-old black woman and a five-year-old child, Mr Yale told jurors.
His profile, under the name Chris C, listed his interests as "cannibalism, mainly the hunting and preparation of young but sometimes not so young women".
In online chats, the father of three told "Eva", whose identity has never been revealed: "The idea of us making love and then eating you is a VERY great turn on!
"I have been called a very generous lover and I would be very generous to you before I prepped you for the table."
Girl on a plate
The court heard Bolinger bought an axe from Homebase in Broadstairs and the night before their planned meeting he told her: "Got the axe, you ready to get that train?"
He was arrested at the hospital where he worked after the emergence of the graphic chat logs, and police found at his home indecent pseudo-images of children aged four to 16 which had been digitally manipulated.
The titles for the pictures included "Dinner", "The BBQ", the "BBQ2 and the "BBQ3".
The court heard one image showed a young girl on a serving plate with an apple in her mouth.
Mr Yale said these pictures pointed to Bolinger's sexual interest in cannibalism relating to children.
But Bolinger told the court his thoughts about cannibalism had only been as a fantasy and that he would have been shocked if "Eva" had actually arrived.
In court, he claimed his graphic online chats were an attempt to shock people and he had never intended to kill anyone.
When under arrest, he had told detectives he thought he had probably been speaking with a man in his 30s "surrounded by pizza boxes".
His defence counsel Paul Jarvis told the court: "We say that when you look at all the evidence, it's quite clear that Mr Bolinger is far more Walter Mitty than Hannibal Lecter.
"He is a fantasist and sometimes he goes too far and sometimes he stops, and sometimes - when the person encourages him - the fantasy continues."
But jurors found him guilty after three hours of deliberation.
Det Insp Rob Chitham, of Kent Police, said after Bolinger's conviction: "This was a long and complicated investigation because much of the evidence was in the USA.
"In addition, the people who use fetish chatrooms go to great lengths to hide their identity, and specialist knowledge and equipment is needed to determine who they are and where they live."
Before the trial, Bolinger admitted other charges, including administering a poison or noxious substance after he put a cloth soaked in dry cleaning fluid over his friend Urlene King's mouth in July 2010.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of making indecent pseudo photographs of children and seven counts of publishing an obscene article.
Judge Adele Williams adjourned sentencing to 19 September after asking for a psychiatric and a pre-sentence report to be prepared to "assess the level of risk the defendant poses to the public".