A British-Indian Barclays bank worker attempted to kill her magistrate mother after she prevented her from marrying her boyfriend.
Kuntal Patel appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday accused of the attempted murder of her mother Meena who was plied with Diet Coke laced with a lethal poison in a plot that the court heard was inspired by the US TV show ‘Breaking Bad’.
Patel, 37, is also charged with obtaining a biological agent illegally.
The court heard that Patel, a graphic designer, bought the poison from a portal on the so-called ‘Dark Internet’ – the unregulated part of the world wide web – using the virtual currency Bitcoins.
When her first attempt to poison her mother failed, Patel is then said to have bought a stronger dosage of the medicine before being tracked down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation who turned her over to British authorities in January.
Patel was reportedly angered after her ‘controlling’ 60-year-old mother forbade her from marrying the ‘love of her life’, Niraj Patel.
Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay compared the plot to a ‘Bollywood’ movie and said that Meena was “not a nice woman at all” in private despite her upstanding reputation within the community in Stratford, East London where mother and daughter lived.
“She was highly manipulative and controlling – she would seek to control every aspect of her daughters’ lives. And worst of all, she forbade Kuntal from marrying the man she loved – Niraj Patel.
“Meena Patel was all of those things – manipulative, controlling and selfish. But she did not deserve to die.”
Mr Polnay said Kuntal was “inspired, in part, by the US television series Breaking Bad’ when she acquired the deadly toxin.
“The toxin arrived from the United States concealed in a wax candle. Kuntal secretly poured the (poison) into her mother’s Diet Coke and watched her drink it – expecting her to die”.
The magistrate, however, survived because the poison is less effective when diluted.
Patel is then said to have ordered a larger sample of the poison.
The court heard that Meena Patel had had a history of controlling her daughter’s love life, once allegedly locking her in a room and beating her in a bid to stop her from seeing a previous boyfriend.
In an email to a friend, Kuntal described her mother as ‘evil’ and said: “I told her how much I liked him and she started slapping me.”
“My life is so worthless. She just shouts at me like a bulldog. There is no reason or logic with anything she does, apart from being a psycho b***h.”
She added: ‘I’m stuck with that miserable f***er until she dies.’
The court heard that Kuntal had hatched her plan sometime in early 2013, spending £900 to buy the poison off an anonymous seller.
However, unknown to her and the seller, the website selling the toxin was under surveillance by the FBI.
It is alleged that the poison used by Kuntal causes breathing difficulties, fever, coughing and sickness. Fluid builds in the lungs, eventually killing the person.
In a bid to distance herself from the purchase, Kuntal is then said to have asked a friend to accept the package from the US.
When her mother survived the poisoning, Kuntal wrote to the seller: “Something had definitely gone wrong somewhere as it is now (two days) and still everything is normal.
“Yes target drank all of it. I made sure I watched her drink it all. I had to borrow money from friends to get this stuff from you because it’s my last option. I can’t be with the man I love because my mother doesn’t like him. She is a bitter, miserable old woman and has been physically mean to me and my sister.”
When she was arrested, Kuntal claimed that she had bought the poison to commit suicide before later confessing after police discovered google searches on her computer asking “how to murder using poison”.
Patel denies trying to murder her mother and acquiring a biological agent or toxin.
The trial continues.