Beds, Herts & Bucks

Breaking Bad fan's 'stupid' meth lab lands him in court

Scene from US drama Breaking Bad Image copyright AP
Image caption Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul as druggie drop-out Jesse Pinkman and Bryan Cranston as cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White

A crystal meth addict tried to create his own lab after watching US drama series Breaking Bad, a court heard.

James Stutter, 37, admitted to a jury he "had a great idea" to make it after seeing the show, in which a chemistry teacher builds a methamphetamine lab.

However, he denied he was actually trying to make the drug in his Hemel Hempstead flat. He was convicted and given a two-year suspended jail term.

Sentencing him, Recorder Leslie Cuthbert told him he was "stupid".

St Albans Crown Court heard that when police raided Stutter's flat in March 2014, they found a recipe for the drug written by his girlfriend Eleanor Hunt.

Ingredients including lithium drained from batteries, Epsom salts and paraphernalia such as a coffee grinder, all of which could be used in drug production, were also seized.

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The couple both denied a charge of attempting to make methamphetamine.

Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption A number of items were seized by police at James Stutter's flat

During a trial last month the jury heard Stutter had been paying about £140 for a gram of the drug and thought it would be cheaper to manufacture his own.

His defence team argued he had not actually begun manufacturing anything.

Prosecuting, Roxanne Aisthorpe told the jury: "You may have seen the TV series Breaking Bad. That laboratory was quite professional. That was not what happened in this case."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Stutter's lab was not like the professional efforts witnessed in Breaking Bad, the court heard

Ms Hunt was cleared of the charge but Stutter was convicted.

He admitted two further charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Recorder Cuthbert told Stutter: "It is a sign of your stupidity that you watched a TV programme about methamphetamine and thought you could manufacture it."

He added: "You are 37 and should know better by this age."

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