Liverpool

Dark web 'ricin plot' triggered by Breaking Bad, court told

Statue of the Scales of Justice on the rooftop of the Old Bailey building Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The alleged poison plot was triggered by the TV series Breaking Bad, the Old Bailey heard

A man tried to buy ricin from the "dark web" after the idea was "implanted in his brain" from watching the Breaking Bad television series, a court heard.

Mohammed Ali, of Prescot Road, Liverpool, is accused of attempting to possess a chemical weapon.

The father of two, 31, has denied the charge at the Old Bailey in London.

Using an online alias, Ali allegedly tried to order 500mg of the deadly toxin, the jury was told, which would have been enough to kill 1,400 people.

As "Weirdos 0000", Ali contacted a man on the black market and placed an order for the ricin, the court heard.

He went on to negotiate the deal in encrypted exchanges unaware the United States-based 'dealer' was actually an FBI agent who alerted the British authorities.

Harmless powder

On 10 February, he took delivery of a toy car with "special batteries" at the home he shared with his wife and two young sons.

But instead of ricin, the five concealed packets contained a harmless powder and Ali was arrested.

The court has been told that the Bolton-born computer software programmer has displayed many traits of Asperger's syndrome.

Under cross-examination, defence clinical psychologist Alison Beck said: "I think that so far as I understand it, Mr Ali was motivated with pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the technology.

"The relevance of the dark net was to procure ricin and that idea was implanted in his brain having watched the series Breaking Bad."

Ali denies a charge of attempting to possess a chemical weapon between 10 January and 12 February.

The trial continues.

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