A British man who discussed online with other men their mutual desire to kidnap, rape, kill and eat children has been sentenced to nearly 27 years’ jail in the United States.
Geoffrey Portway, 40, was yesterday sentenced by a federal court to 26 years and eight months behind bars.
Authorities say they found a dungeon, homemade coffin, butchering kit and other “tools” in his home.
Prosecutors said online chats recovered from Portway’s computer showed he solicited people for help in kidnapping a child with the intent of raping, killing and eating the child.
In court, assistant US attorney Stacy Dawson Belf said Portwaywas determined to torture and cannibalise children.
“The seriousness of these crimes cannot be overstated,” Ms Dawson Belf told Massachusetts judge Timothy Hillman. “He sought to kidnap, rape, cannibalise and murder a child. He makes clear that he is not about role-playing. He was caught by investigators in the nick of time.”
However, defence lawyer Richard Sweeney said Portway, who lived in the town of Worcester, was a man with “issues” who only engaged in fantasy role-playing online.
“Geoffrey lived in a fantasy world where he did live-action role playing, did things online unrelated to child porn and cannibalism,” Mr Sweeney said.
“There’s no evidence at all of Geoffrey being involved with any child or harming any child,” Mr Sweeney said.
Police uncovered the torture chamber at Portway’s home after a two-year investigation into a paedophile ring by the US department of Homeland Security.
They found a staircase leading to a hidden, sound-proofed room containing a child-sized coffin, a steel cage, handcuffs, castration tools and a collection of knives.
Federal officials said in the sentencing papers: “Portway has pled guilty to some of the most vile and heinous crimes known to our society, namely participating in the sexual exploitation of young children through the possession and distribution of child pornography and soliciting the kidnapping of a child for the purpose of killing and consuming that child.”
Investigators also discovered a cache of child pornography, including 20,000 images of children being sexually abused as well as images of dead children, along with information that showed Portway was in electronic chatrooms discussing murdering and eating children.
Federal prosecutors said they also discovered internet conversations between Portway and a Kansas man, since identified as Michael Arnett, during which the men discussed Portway’s request that Arnett kidnap a child for Portway to torture, murder and cannibalise.
“That is all I live for. I am serious,’’ Portway wrote in one post when discussing his plans for kidnapped children. “It is the only thing that gets me up in the morning.
A psychologist found that Portway’s sick fantasies stemmed from a troubled childhood and a fear of coming out as gay when he was eight, CNN reported.
Around that time, Portway became fascinated with fairytales, including Hansel and Gretel, the story of a brother and sister captured by a witch who plans to eat them. According to the evaluation, as a boy, Portway wanted “to be eaten” in order to feel valued or desired by another person.