A woman accused of trying to poison her mother in a murder plot inspired by the television drama Breaking Bad duped a friend into believing that a lethal toxin shipped from the US was an expensive candle from her former partner, a court heard today.
Kuntal Patel asked a long-standing friend to receive the package on her behalf because she said her “manipulative” mother opened her mail, hated her US-based boyfriend and contributed to the break-up of their engagement, the court heard.
Southwark Crown Court has heard that Miss Patel, 37, bought the deadly abrin from an US-based online seller from a hidden website known as Black Market Reloaded and secretly communicated with him to send it to Britain.
Miss Patel, who worked as a graphic designer for Barclays Bank, allegedly slipped some of the toxin into her mother Meena’s drink of Coke but the 60-year-old magistrate did not suffer any ill-effects, the court has heard.
The trial heard from two of Kuntal Patel’s friends who both encouraged her to leave her “controlling” mother who allegedly bullied and beat her and had forbidden her to marry her boyfriend Niraj Patel.
In a series of messages, emails and texts, Miss Patel told her friend Julie Wong that she had been subjected to relentless abuse and confided that she planned to kill herself. The following day, Ms Wong received the candle containing the toxin via a neighbour.
Ms Wong told the court: “She told me it was a candle given to her from Niraj. It was a memory for her. It was a very expensive candle. They were at a hotel one time, she liked this candle, he remembered it and bought her one.”
The court heard that officers in chemical, biological and nuclear protection suits later raided Ms Patel’s house in east London after being tipped off by the FBI after officers uncovered details of the online seller of abrin.
Miss Patel said she was contemplating suicide before throwing away the abrin. Miss Patel, of Plaistow, east London, denies trying to murder her mother and acquiring a biological agent or toxin. She has admitted two counts of attempting to acquire a biological agent or toxin last December.
The case continues.