Breaking Bad fan found guilty of buying enough ricin to kill 1,400 people
Published 29/07/2015 | 15:24
A man from Liverpool has been found guilty of trying to buy deadly ricin poison from the Dark Web after being inspired by the hit US television series Breaking Bad.
Mohammed Ali (31) was convicted at the Old Bailey of attempting to possess a chemical weapon after around five and a half hours of deliberations by a jury.
Under the username 'Weirdos 0000', the software programmer struck a deal with a supplier on the Internet to buy 500mg of powder for €470 ($500) - enough to kill 1,400 people.
Mr Ali was unaware that his source Psychochem was in fact an FBI agent who tipped off police in England and substituted the consignment of ricin for harmless powder.
Over several weeks of communication, the 31-year-old promised to order 500mg of ricin a month for several months if he was happy with the initial product.
He said in one message: “I do like the idea of five separate vials. Are we talking Breaking Bad-style?”
After the father of two took delivery of a toy car with five vials hidden in the battery compartment, police swooped to arrest him at his home in Prescot Road, Liverpool.
Under ultraviolet light, Ali's face lit up showing that he had handled the package which had been specially treated with a marker substance.
The father-of-two told jurors that he tried to buy poison out of "curiosity" and "wanted to know what the fuss was about".
"I wanted to know can you actually get anything from these sites. So I go on one of these websites – Evolution," he said.
"I found lots of different items ranging from drugs, guns, other illegal items, and because I had been watching Breaking Bad TV show I just had ricin in my mind."
However, prosecutor Sally Howes said the father-of-two's explanation did not stack up.
She said he had made a “carefully crafted, well planned and thoroughly researched attempt to get his hands on ricin” – and been caught out.