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Breaking Bad inspires poison murder bid, court hears


Meena Patel, left, was given the poison by her daughter Kuntal. Photo: Telegraph

Meena Patel, left, was given the poison by her daughter Kuntal. Photo: Telegraph

Meena Patel, left, was given the poison by her daughter Kuntal. Photo: Telegraph

A city graphic designer tried to kill her “manipulative and controlling” magistrate mother with a deadly poison bought over the internet because she forbade her marrying the man she loved, a court heard.

Kuntal Patel, 38, was inspired by US television drama “Breaking Bad” when she bought Abrin – a poison similar to Ricin – on the dark web, prosecutor Jonathon Polnay said.

But the drug had no effect because she gave it to her mother, Meena Patel, in a can of diet coke.

The drug is 1000 times less toxic if swallowed rather than inhaled or injected and the acid in the coke destroyed it further, the court was told.

Patel, of Park Road, wanted to murder her mother because she had forbidden her from marrying, Niraj Kakad, an American she met over the internet.

Meena Patel, a magistrate working in domestic violence and race relations, was “not a nice woman at all” in private, the court heard.

Both her daughters, Kuntal and Poonam, lived at home with her.

Mr Polnay said: “She would regularly use foul and abusive language, including highly racist language.

“She would on occasions be violent. She was highly manipulative and controlling, she would seek to control every aspect of her daughters’ lives.

“And worst of all she forbade Kuntal from marrying the man she loved.”

But the prosecutor added: “Meena was all of those things, manipulative, controlling and selfish. But she did not deserve to die.

“When Meena forbade Kuntal from marrying Niraj, rather than bringing shame on the family by trying to marry without consent, something which Meena would have done her best to sabotage, Kuntal set out in calculated and pre-meditated fashion to murder her mother.

“Inspired in part by the US TV series Breaking Bad, she acquired a deadly toxin called Abrin, a close relation to Ricin, over the ‘dark web’ from a vendor in the USA.”

Patel bought the poison using Bitcoins and used encryption on her emails to cover her tracks.

The toxin was sent from the US concealed in a wax candle which Patel then poured into a diet coke and watched her mother drink it “expecting her to die”.

“But nothing happened,” Mr Polnay said.

Patel then set about trying to buy a stronger does of Abrin. However her US dealer Jesse Korff was arrested by the FBI who found evidence that he had sent the poison to the UK and alerted the Metropolitan Police, who arrested Patel.

Patel denies attempted murder and a charge of acquiring a biological agent or toxin, namely Abrin.

She has admitted two counts of attempting to acquire Abrin.

The trial continues.