The rural city of Blair, Nebraska has been caught in a panic after a deranged nurse who plotted to rape, dismember and eat a 14-year-old girl fled the UK after his release from prison.

Local police have said they received no warning that Dale Bolinger, known as the Canterbury Cannibal, was moving to the city on 4 January. The 62-year-old convicted sex offender served just half of a nine-year sentence for sex offences.

The former NHS nurse, who listed his interest online as "cannibalism, mainly hunting and preparation of young but sometimes not so young women," was found out by FBI agents when he chatted on the internet about rape, murder and cannibalism.

Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson said State Patrol sent him an email that a registered sex offender was moving to the area but did not include information about Bolinger's past. Robinson said he later received a tip urging him to look into Bolinger's convictions, The Mirror reported.

"We did and that's when we found out about his past - it was very concerning. We don't know why were weren't notified," Robinson said.

"Why wasn't he directed to register directly here so we would have a little better understanding of his past? We don't know - we don't have any answers yet."

In 2014, a trial heard how Bolinger met a girl named "Eva" on the Dark Fetish Network website. The day before he was set to meet her at Ashford train station in Kent, Bolinger bought an axe. The girl never showed up as planned.

Jurors heard Bolinger discussed beheading a 14-year-old, eating children and cooking and eating a pregnant woman with other users. When he was arrested, Bolinger revealed to investigators that he had fantasised about cannibalism since he was six years old.

Canterbury Crown Court convicted Bolinger of attempting to groom a child for sexual purposes, possessing obscene pictures of children and writing obscene articles.

Bolinger, who has American citizenship, was staying with a friend after moving to Nebraska. However, the friend kicked him out of his home after learning the severity of his crimes.

"I didn't want to be caught up in the maelstrom," the friend told the Daily Mirror. "He was only here a couple of days to get back on his feet. He's not dealing with the police about where he can stay.

"He is an associate of my wife."

An angry Blair resident questioned why Bolinger has been allowed in the community. "Many of us have children. He should not be allowed around them," the unidentified local said.

One of Bolinger's victims also questioned why he had been set free. Urlene King, a mother-of-four, said Bolinger attempted to suffocate her with a rag soaked in cleaning fluid at his home in Brockley, South London in 2010. King managed to escape but feared she "could have ended up as his dinner".

"I'm completely dumbfounded. How is he out already? I hope to god he doesn't come back around here," she said.