Poison plotter convicted

A man has been convicted of plotting to manufacture homemade poisons and explosives with the intention of causing fear and injury to those who come into contact with them.

The conviction of Kamel Bourgass follows a long and intensive investigation by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch with assistance from the security service and other police forces. During a search of premises in Wood Green, London on 5th January 2003 detectives discovered residue from a homemade poison, together with recipes and instructions for making poisons and explosives.

It was alleged at court that Bourgass was the prime conspirator in putting together a plan to attack people in the United Kingdom using these materials, although a final target has never been identified. Bourgass’ fingerprints were found on a cup containing apple seeds and paper containing cherry stones. Both can be used to produce cyanide.

His fingerprints were also found on a bottle of acetone, which can be used to extract poison from the seeds as detailed in instructions found in the flat at Wood Green.

The search also found more than 20 castor beans, the base ingredient for ricin, and £14,000 in cash. Bourgass was later arrested at a separate address in Manchester on 14th January 2003. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch said, "This is an important conviction that has removed a very dangerous man from our streets.

In his attempts to evade capture he murdered DC Stephen Oake, an appalling tragedy that must not be forgotten. He died protecting the public from a vicious terrorist. It is clear that had Bourgass been allowed to continue his plot undetected some people would have been made very ill and quite possibly have died. It would be hard to underestimate the fear and disruption this plot could have caused across the country. The public have been spared from a real and deadly threat.

A detailed case was presented to the jury and we are pleased that they agreed that this man was responsible for a terrible conspiracy to indiscriminately attack people in this country. We must also remember that this case was about a conspiracy between a small group of terrorists. I would like to make it absolutely clear, as I have in the past, that the police service knows that they are not representative of the overwhelming majority of the law-abiding Muslim community who have stated their total rejection of violence and terrorism."

The police search found at least four sets of recipes or instructions in Arabic for the making or use of poisons and explosives, together with two lists of chemicals for use in a number of the recipes, including details of where those chemicals might be obtained.

The same search found a CD-ROM extolling the benefits of using bombs in the furtherance of Jihad, together with a basic introduction to electronic circuits and instructions on how to assemble, fix and plant a bomb, and to make a timing device.