Wife of 'cannibal cop' found his online plan to torture and kill her
Agence France-Presse in New York
The estranged wife of a New York police officer sobbed as she testified in court that her husband, who is accused of plotting to kidnap and cannibalise women, went online to discuss torturing and killing her.
Kathleen Mangan-Valle, 27, was the star witness for the prosecution in a trial that opened on Monday with her telling the jury that Gilberto Valle had a desire to "cannibalise human flesh".
The allegations are so gruesome that the court had to screen potential jurors for their views on extreme sexual fantasies, showing them a photograph of a woman trussed up in a cooking pan, with an apple stuffed in her mouth.
Mangan-Valle said she caught her husband, who has pleaded not guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy, visiting websites that were dedicated to violent sexual fetishes. The couple were raising a young daughter at the time.
Repeatedly crying in the crammed Manhattan federal court, Mangan-Valle described her decision to flee the house with the baby after finding horrific pictures on a computer from one of Valle's late-night internet sessions.
On closer inspection, she realised that Valle, 28, had exchanged "thousands of e-mails" with other death porn enthusiasts and that he had shared photographs of people they knew. "Suddenly I was staring at pictures of me, at pictures of friends," Mangan-Valle said.
In one plan discussed online: "I was going to be tied up by my feet, and my wrists and my throat slit, and they were going to watch the blood drain out of me."
Overcome, Mangan-Valle was allowed to compose herself outside of the court. Her husband sat at the defendant's table with his head in his hands.
But Valle's attorney, Julia Gatto, countered that the six-year veteran of the New York police department had only been fantasising the whole time, and said her client was a good family man, despite "very bizarre" sexual fantasies.
Valle is accused of conspiracy to kidnap, and illegally accessing law-enforcement databases for detailed research on potential victims.