'Cannibal nurse' trial jury retires
A jury trying an NHS nurse accused of telling a 14-year-old girl he planned to behead and eat her after sexually grooming her online has retired to consider its verdict.
Dale Bolinger, 58, bought an axe from a DIY store in Broadstairs, Kent, the day before he planned to meet his alleged victim.
He chatted with the teenager, a Mexican girl called "Eva" living in Germany, on a website called the Dark Fetish Network (DFN), Canterbury Crown Court has heard.
In online chats, father of three Bolinger is said to have told her: "The idea of us making love and then eating you is a VERY great turn on!"
The night before their meeting, Bolinger - who worked as a registered nurse at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate - told her: "Got the axe, you ready to get that train?"
But jurors heard that "Eva", whose true identity has never been uncovered, failed to show up at Ashford International Station in Kent as planned.
Under cross-examination today, Bolinger said he had been "stupid" and made "very serious mistakes" but that he had not been intent on killing and eating "Eva".
He told police he believed the girl he was chatting to online was probably a man in his 30s "surrounded by pizza boxes" who would be dead by his 40s.
And he said his motivation for going to Ashford International Station following their agreement to meet was out of concern if "Eva" was in fact aged 14.
Bolinger told the court: "I wasn't going to take off anyone's head. It would have been messy, it would have been horrible."
Prosecutor Martin Yale said earlier in the trial that internet chats involving Bolinger on the DFN site about beheading and eating women and girls were discovered by the FBI in New York.
Investigators discovered the email address email@example.com was being used in Kent and Bolinger was arrested after the information was passed to Kent Police.
In chats with other users, Bolinger - who used a picture of supermodel Naomi Campbell on his profile - allegedly 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", it is claimed.
Mr Yale read out chat logs between Bolinger and users in which he allegedly referred to beheading a 14-year-old, eating children while their mothers watched, and cooking and eating a pregnant woman and her foetus.
Bolinger told the court he did not believe "Eva" was a 14-year-old girl. And he denied that he would ever behead someone in reality.
Bolinger said that had "Eva" turned up at Ashford International Station, he would have taken her home and contacted social services.
In his closing speech, Bolinger's defence counsel Paul Jarvis said: "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."
He urged the jury not to rely on the chat logs as evidence of truth.
Mr Jarvis added: "What happened here is obvious. There is a man, he might be 39, he may well be in Mexico and he may well have a fantasy about children or girls.
"But he hasn't got anyone to play with, so the way he gets his kicks is to pretend to be someone younger so that he can feed off someone else on the DFN."
The court heard that Bolinger told police he had bought the axe from Homebase to remove two tree stumps from the side of his house.
He said he had only gone to Ashford International Station to meet "Eva" because he was concerned for her safety.
He "probably would have wet" himself if she had turned up and he would have called social services and the police, he added.
Bolinger said he visited the DFN website out of curiosity and that the people he spoke to seemed "willing to accept anything".
He told the jury: "Initially, I was looking to find people with like minds and to see where they came from, but it soon spiralled down into trying to shock people enough that they would ask 'is this fantasy?'"
In police interview, he said he started having fantasies about cannibalism since the age of six. And he blamed his "very domineering" mother for his "weird" behaviour.
He told officers: "By the time I got to 14, I turned into the villain of the piece and I wondered what it would be like to eat a girl."
Bolinger told police he had never discussed his fantasies with his wife of 34 years Rosemary or their children, and said he felt ashamed.
"It was less to do with sexual gratification and more to do with anger," he told officers. "The people that do it (cannibalism) are seriously deranged, and I may be many things but I am not deranged."
He also admitted in interview that discs found in his home containing indecent images of children were his, the jury heard.
Mr Yale said one image featured a girl aged between six and nine laying naked on a serving plate with an apple in her mouth, and others were of a similar nature.
When questioned about the images, Bolinger told police: "I do not find children sexually attractive but I do find them interesting as a food source."
Bolinger, formerly from Canterbury, denies one charge of attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following sexual grooming in relation to "Eva".
Jurors have heard he has pleaded guilty to 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 has also admitted one count of making indecent pseudo photographs of children, and seven counts of publishing an obscene article.
The jury was sent home for the weekend and will resume its deliberations at 10am on Monday.