A man who mailed a package containing white powder and violent images addressed to a former Prime Minister was convicted today, Friday 14 August, of a hoaxes offence.
Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested Christopher Doyle, 54, from Widnes, Cheshire, on 24 May 2018, following a thorough investigation which started at a postal sorting office in east London.
On 5 April 2018, the Met responded to a report from diligent sorting office staff of a suspicious package addressed to the Prime Minister.
The envelope contained a white powder and graphic violent images.
Met explosives experts attended the scene and analysed the powder, which they identified as harmless citric acid.
Counter Terrorism detectives subsequently launched an investigation and identified Doyle as the sender of the envelope and on 24 May 2018, supported by officers from Cheshire Constabulary, they arrested Doyle at his home.
Police officers searched his house and recovered a number of electronic devices, including his computer and mobile phone.
Doyle was later released under investigation and detectives continued their enquiries.
Specialist forensic officers analysed Doyle’s electronic devices and discovered indecent images of children on the hard drive of his computer.
Subsequently, on 17 December 2019, police charged Doyle by postal requisition with one count of hoaxes involving noxious substances or things, contrary to section 114(1)(b) and (3) of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; one count of making indecent photographs of children, contrary to sections 1(1)(a) and 6 of the Protection of Children Act 1978; and one count of possession of indecent photographs of children, contrary to Section 160(1), (2a) and (3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
On Tuesday, 18 February, Doyle appeared at Liverpool Crown Court where he pleaded not guilty to the hoaxes offence, and guilty to the indecent images offences.
He was bailed to appear at the same court on Tuesday, 11 August, for trial in relation to the charge of hoaxes involving noxious substances or things.
Doyle is scheduled to be sentenced for all the offences at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 3 September.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The Met treats hoaxes and any attempts to make MPs and elected officials fear for their safety extremely seriously. We will deal robustly with such incidents and look to bring to justice anyone who commits a criminal offence.”
In addition to the Counter Terrorism Command which investigates offences involving suspected noxious substances, the Met has a team dedicated to managing and investigating reports of offences of an abusive, threatening or intimidating nature against MPs, their staff and families. The Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team (PLAIT), launched in September 2016, was established following the murder of MP Jo Cox.