UK & World News
'Cannibal Cop' Convicted In Plot To Eat Women
A New York City police officer has been convicted of plotting to kidnap, cook and eat women.
The jury reached the verdict at the kidnapping conspiracy trial of Officer Gilberto Valle, a 28-year-old father with an admitted fetish for talking on the Internet about cannibalism.
Valle's lawyers argued that he was just fantasising and noted that none of the women were ever harmed.
Valle bowed his head and looked teary-eyed when the verdict was announced. He hugged his lawyer, Julia Gatto.
Ms Gatto said: "It's a devastating verdict for us. We poured our hearts and souls into this.
"The jury was unable to get past the thoughts. Obviously, the case involved thoughts that were unusual and bizarre and frankly very ugly."
Valle's mother, Elizabeth, shook her head as the verdict was rendered.
"I'm in shock and want to be left alone," she said after her son was led away. She said to herself as she sat on a court bench alone: "This is going to kill my mother."
Valle faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 19. He also loses his job due to the conviction.
Prosecutors countered that an analysis of Valle's computer found he was taking concrete steps to abduct his wife and at least five other women he knew.
They said he looked up potential targets on a restricted law enforcement database, searched the Internet for how to knock someone out with chloroform, and showed up on the block of one woman after agreeing to kidnap her for $5,000 for a man, now awaiting trial.
US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement: "Today, a unanimous jury found that Gilberto Valle's detailed and specific plans to abduct women for the purpose of committing grotesque crimes were very real, and that he was guilty as charged.
"The Internet is a forum for the free exchange of ideas, but it does not confer immunity for plotting crimes and taking steps to carry out those crimes."
The jury heard Valle's potential victims testify that they were trading innocent-sounding emails and texts with him, unaware he was supposedly scheming to make meals out of them.
The government also sought to drive home the point that Valle was more of a threat because he was a police officer.
The trial opened a window on strange online underworld where people share sick and twisted fantasies of torture, murder, dismemberment and cannibalism.