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Boy, 16, tried to buy deadly poison

Published 08/04/2015

A teenager has pleaded guilty at Manchester Youth Court to attempting to buy toxin on the dark web
A teenager has pleaded guilty at Manchester Youth Court to attempting to buy toxin on the dark web

A 16-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to attempting to buy a deadly biological toxin over the "dark web".

The teenager from Mossley, Greater Manchester - who cannot be named for legal reasons - wanted to obtain a poison called abrin, said to be 30 times more toxic than ricin.

He entered a guilty plea at Manchester Youth Court today on the basis that he tried to purchase the toxin online to kill himself, Greater Manchester Police said .

The teenager will be sentenced on April 20 for the offence, which is contrary to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and Section 1 of the Biological Weapons Act 1974.

Abrin is a natural poison found in the seeds of a plant called the rosary pea or jequirity.

An investigation was launched by the North West counter-terrorism unit on January 23 after information was passed that law enforcement officers were covertly in internet communication with the 16-year-old over the dark web and that he had expressed an interest in acquiring the poison.

During these communications, the teenager showed awareness of the drug's toxicity and the potential for it to be used to cause considerable harm, said police.

On February 6, the youth attempted to place an order and also suggested he would make future purchases in larger quantities.

Ten days later, warrants were executed at two addresses in the Mossley area of Greater Manchester and the college student was arrested. A 16-year-old girl was also arrested as part of the investigation but later released without charge.

At a previous court hearing, it was said the slightly-built youngster tried to obtain 10 milligrams of abrin when just 0.05mg was enough to kill a human

The boy's father wiped tears from his eyes and his mother held a handkerchief to her mouth throughout.

The maximum sentence for the offence is life imprisonment.

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