A New York police officer has appeared in court accused of plotting to kidnap, torture, cook and eat at least 100 women.

Gilberto Valle, 28, was arrested after police retrieved a trail of emails, computer files and messages on online fetish chat rooms in which he described his fantasies.

Valle, who has served in the New York Police Department for six years, described how he hoped to cook one woman on a low heat "to keep her alive as long as possible".

He was arrested after his estranged wife alerted authorities to his online activities. No woman are believed to have been harmed, although the FBI suspect the officer met with one of his potential victims for lunch.

Valle is being held in custody without bail on charges including kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorised use of law enforcement records. Judge Henry Pitman said the allegations against Valle were "profoundly disturbing... the most depraved, most dangerous conduct that can be imagined".

His defence lawyers argued Valle was only guilty of a "deviant fantasy" which was never in danger of crossing into the real world.

Julia Gatto told the court: "At worst this is someone who has sexual fantasies about people he knows and he talks about it on the internet."

Online documents recovered from Valle's computer showed the 28-year-old discussing his plan with two unnamed conspirators.

The court papers reveals Valle plotting how he could use chloroform to knock out his victims and that his oven was big enough to cook a person if he "folded their legs".

Discussing how they would kidnap and consume a specific woman, Valle allegedly wrote: "I was thinking of tying her body on to some kind of apparatus ... cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible."

He added: "I love that she is asleep right now and does not have the slightest clue of what we have planned.

"Her days are numbered. She does look tasty, doesn't she?"

Valle was also thought to be considering making money from his morbid fantasies, allegedly negotiating to kidnap and sell another woman to an unmade associated for $5000 (£3100).

He said: "I will really get off on knocking her out, tying up her hands and bare feet and gagging her. Then she will be stuffed into a large piece of luggage and wheeled out to my van."

A further search of Valle's computer revealed files containing the names, photographs and personal details of at least 100 woman.

US attorney Preet Bharara said: "This case is all the more disturbing when you consider Valle's position as a New York City police officer and his sworn duty to serve and protect."