Poison accused 'unlucky in love'
A woman who allegedly poisoned her mother in a Breaking Bad-inspired plot in order to be with her fiance admitted she was unlucky in love and had never received a Valentine's Day card.
Lovestruck Kuntal Patel, 37, allegedly tried to kill her mother Meena by lacing her diet coke with abrin after she "forbade" her to marry Niraj Kakad.
London's Southwark Crown Court heard that Patel penned a heart-felt love letter to Mr Kakad, whom she met on an Asian internet dating site and who lived in America. But she never sent it.
In the emotional message, written in June 2012, she wrote: "I've not had much luck with guys, I've never even received a Valentine's Day card.
"I thank God every day for bringing you into my life. No-one has ever talked to me like you have. I trust you. I'll do all I can for you.
"I know you are a good man and have a good heart. Maybe I've gone head over heels, but that's how I feel."
Jurors heard that Patel, who lived at home with her sister Poonam and her mother in Plaistow, east London, was desperate to settle down and have children.
Mr Kakad flew to London to see her in June 2012 to give their relationship a go.
But Patel's "controlling and selfish" mother, who sat on the bench at Thames Magistrates' Court, is said to have been determined to break the couple up.
She is said to have locked Patel in their home, and beaten and bullied her in a bid to get her to stop seeing him.
In a message to her close friend Julie Wong, Patel wrote: "My mother is hell-bent on ruining my life at the moment."
Driven to despair that her mother was scuppering her chance of happiness, Patel is said to have turned to the "dark web" to buy a ricin-like poison to kill her mother.
She allegedly had it shipped over hidden in a candle, and spiked her mother's drink with it. But she survived.
Patel, who worked as a graphic designer for Barclays Bank, denies trying to murder her mother and acquiring a biological agent or toxin.
She has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to acquire a biological agent or toxin last December.
In a series of increasingly fraught messages, Patel, who volunteered as a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics, told how her mother verbally abused and beat her.
In a message to Ms Wong in August 2012, she wrote: "As long as she is in the picture with her old fashioned ways I'll never be happy.
"I'm not going to get any younger. I'm 35. But she can't see past her own traditions. I can't stand to be in the same room as her or look at her these days."
She added: "I really am questioning a lot of things in my life and it all leads back to the same person - my mum the dictator.
"I would have been married with kids 10 years ago no thanks to her. You are not the only one sinking on the Titanic."
She said her mother unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade against her, branding her "a prozy", "illiterate" and "going nowhere".
And she claimed the magistrate beat her and her sister Poonam when they dared to challenge her "17th-century ideology".
Recounting one violent clash at their home in August, Patel wrote: "Poo tried to defend me a bit and my mum started strangling her, I had to pull her off. Then she threw the slippers at me.
"I always knew she was irrational, but this incident tops it. I really do hate her. The way she dealt with this whole thing - she is disgusting and barbaric."
Later that month, she said in a message to her friend: "I really do wish she was dead. All my problems would disappear."