Fraudster imprisoned for frog poison murder plan

By Melvyn Howe,Pa
Wednesday 18 December 2002 01:00

A fraudster who hatched a prison plot to use the world's most poisonous frog to kill a co-defendant received a second jail sentence of two-and-a-half years yesterday.

Hans-Constantin Paulssen, 62, from Frankfurt – in custody in London's Pentonville Prison on charges of conspiring to defraud investors of £6m – feared that Jennifer Newmarch's defence arguing that he was the mastermind would raise his chances of being convicted.

He told a fellow inmate that he wanted her dead. The man agreed to help, but informed the police instead, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

David Aaronberg, prosecuting, said an officer posing as an underworld contact visited Paulssen, whoasked him "if he had heard about an Amazonian frog which produces a poison that can be used to induce a heart attack without leaving any trace".

Though this sounded "like a murder plot from some B movie of the 1940s", such frogs do exist, Mr Aaronberg said.

Paulssenadmitted one count of soliciting to murder between March and June last year. Before the case could be dealt with, he was convicted of the fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court and jailed for five years. The two sentences will run consecutively.