UK 'Breaking Bad' fan cleared of murder plot

AP News
Posted: Oct 02, 2014 12:51 PM

LONDON (AP) — A London jury on Thursday convicted a British woman of buying poison over the Internet but cleared her of trying to kill her mother in a plot that prosecutors said was inspired by the TV show "Breaking Bad."

Kuntal Patel was acquitted of attempted murder at London's Southwark Crown Court. She had been accused of slipping a ricin-like toxin into her mother Meena's cola after she was forbidden from marrying.

Prosecutors said Patel concocted the murder plot after watching an episode of "Breaking Bad" in which drug lord Walter White kills an enemy with ricin-laced tea.

Graphic designer Patel, 37, acknowledged fantasizing about killing her mother or herself but said she did not try to carry it out. She said the fantasies were a coping mechanism to deal with the abuse and bullying by her mother, a London magistrate.

"It was as if I was thinking through it, as if I was in my own TV program or a character in 'Breaking Bad,'" Patel told the jury. "I was in a really strange place in my mind."

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Patel admitted paying an American dealer the equivalent of 950 pounds ($1,500) in the virtual currency bitcoin for the poison abrin. But she said she panicked when the package arrived and she threw it away.

Jurors convicted Patel of acquiring a biological toxin but cleared her of the more serious charge. She will be sentenced later.