Leicester

'Terror plot' teen Michael Piggin 'had poisons book'

Michael Piggin
Image caption Michael Piggin allegedly downloaded a banned poisons handbook on to his mobile phone

A weapons' expert has told the jury in the trial of a Loughborough teenager charged with plotting a terror attack, some recipes in a poisons handbook found on his phone, could work.

Dr Paul Rice, employed at Porton Down since 1987, said fireworks and bleach found in Michael Piggin's bedroom could be used to make chlorine gas.

Mr Piggin, 18, is accused of planning attacks on a mosque and a school.

He denies two Terrorism Act charges but has admitted possessing explosives.

The Old Bailey heard a copy of the prohibited Mujahideen Poisons Handbook had been found by police, downloaded on Mr Piggin's mobile phone.

Mr Piggin, of Beaumont Road, Shelthorpe, admits three charges of possessing explosives but denies possessing articles for a purpose connected with terrorism and having a document containing information likely to be useful for committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Michael Piggin has already pleaded guilty to possessing petrol bombs and component parts of pipe bombs

Dr Rice, a chemical and biological weapons expert, told the court that the Mujahedeen Poisons Handbook, was a publication he had come across before and contained details about "homemade chemicals, gases and drugs".

"Many of the recipes contained in this handbook are aimed at producing noxious, harmful - if not lethal - poisons, compounds and toxins from readily available materials found in the home or from plants," he added.

The handbook contained instructions on how to make poisons such as ricin, which could prove lethal in tiny quantities, the court heard.

Talking about chlorine gas, Dr Rice confirmed it produced a strong smell that could make a person choke and would irritate someone's eyes, skin and throat.

He said one of the chemicals needed to make chlorine gas was used in the firework industry and burned very readily.

The jury was told that two packets of sparklers had been recovered from Mr Piggin's bedroom and a photo of powder found in a tin was shown.

He said that a second, liquid, ingredient of chlorine gas was often found in cleaning products.

The jury was shown a photo of what appeared to be a bottle of bleach, also found in Mr Piggin's bedroom.

"It is potentially of use... it would produce a small amount of chlorine," said Dr Rice.

The trial continues.

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