London

Kuntal Patel jailed over 'dark web' poison purchase

Kuntal Patel Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Kuntal Patel had admitted buying the poison from an American via the "dark web"

A woman acquitted of trying to poison her mother in a Breaking Bad-inspired plot has been jailed for three years for acquiring a toxin.

Kuntal Patel, 37, was accused of trying to murder her magistrate mother Meena Patel by putting abrin in her drink.

The court heard she had been angry with her mother, who "forbade" her from marrying her US-based boyfriend.

Patel, of Plaistow, east London, is the first person to be sentenced under the Biological Weapons Act 1974.

The court heard Mrs Patel, who sits on the bench at Thames Magistrates' Court, was "hell-bent" on breaking up her daughter's relationship, and had locked her daughter in their home, bullying her in a bid to get her to stop seeing Niraj Kakad.

They got engaged on Thanksgiving in November 2012 but their relationship could not withstand the pressure, and they broke up.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The poison was shipped in a red candle

Southwark Crown Court heard that Patel bought the poison via a US site on the "dark web" for £950.

She had talked about needing a "tasteless" and deadly toxin to get her mother "out of the way" but said the comments were part of a fantasy world where she imagined herself as Walter White - a character in the US series Breaking Bad - or a "Mexican drug warlord".

Image caption Patel said her mother Meena, pictured, was "hell-bent" on breaking up her engagement

In court she said she meant to kill herself with the poison which was allegedly hidden in a red wax candle and delivered to London but Patel, a Barclays Bank graphic designer, said she "panicked" when she picked the package up and threw it away.

During sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Singh said he believed she had been forced to endure "a prolonged period of severe stress" in the two years leading up to the offences, which took place last December and January.

He said Patel had been torn between her devotion to her mother and family and her desire to find happiness with her fiancée.

"Ultimately you could see no way out and became increasingly depressed and isolated, contemplating killing your mother and yourself,"

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