An Indian bank worker from East London, who was arrested in an anti-terror raid this week, used a substance “more poisonous than ricin” in a botched attempt to kill her magistrate mother.
Barclays executive Kuntal Patel, 36, has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly spiking a Diet Coke with Abrin, a poisonous plant extract. Her 54-year-old mother Meena Patel reportedly survived despite ingesting the poison.
Made from the sap of a plant commonly found in Peru, Abrin attacks the liver, stomach and kidneys and usually leads to death within 72 hours, according to experts. The substance costs between £600 and £900 to purchase online.
Kuntal was arrested last Sunday in a raid by counter-terrorism officers of the Metropolitan Police who were tipped off about “toxic chemicals” at her home in Stratford, East London. Reports say the Met was passed the “specific intelligence” by US authorities after Kuntal allegedly purchased the poison from a US-based website.
Under questioning, Kuntal told police: “I had no intention to murder my mother or cause her any harm or cause anybody else any harm, except for myself.”
Kuntal, who works at Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf, is said to have lived at the £450,000 detached property in Stratford with her pharmacist sister and mother, who sits on the bench at Thames magistrates court.
She appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court on Thursday, where District Judge Jeremy Coleman refused an application for bail.
Her case has been sent to the Old Bailey for a hearing in February.