A retired GP ordered the contract killing of his financial adviser on the dark web as part of a “five-year vendetta” because he blamed the banker for losing £300,000 from his pension, a court has heard.
David Crichton, of Cawdor Road, Bournemouth, is accused of accessing the website of the “Chechen mob” where he selected an order to “kill the bastard” with an equivalent cost of 5,000 dollars (£3,800) to be paid in bitcoin.
The 64-year-old is on trial at Winchester Crown Court for attempting to solicit the murder of Andrew Bolden, a pension and wealth investment adviser in Edinburgh for the London-based private bank Brown Shipley, on February 26 last year.
He is also accused of three charges of sending a malicious communication made up of two text messages and one phone call with the aim of making Mr Bolden fear he would commit suicide.
Simon Jones, prosecuting, said Dr Crichton’s actions were discovered by officers with the National Crime Agency (NCA) who had been monitoring a dark web page called “Crime Bay by Chechen Mob” and found the order made for a hitman to kill Mr Bolden.
Mr Jones said the defendant had used a special browser on his computer and created an account on the website before he chose the option to “kill the bastard” – with other options available being “beat the shit out of him”, “set his car on fire”, and “set his house on fire”.
The prosecutor said: “The defendant’s intention could not be clearer. The steps he took were very clearly an attempt to solicit, ask for, request, seek a murder.”
Mr Jones said Dr Crichton met Mr Bolden when he was running a seminar in Bournemouth in September 2011 on NHS pensions, and he gave the GP paid-for advice on how to invest his £1.8 million pension, with an agreement for further advice to be given.
The prosecutor said: “Dr Crichton delayed some aspects of his advice, he missed certain deadlines and incurred a tax penalty.”
He said Dr Crichton made a complaint to the financial regulator but Mr Bolden was found to have given correct advice.
He said Dr Crichton sent hundreds of emails, prompting his address to be blocked, then sent a text message to Mr Bolden on 4 February 2017, saying: “I am contacting you out of desperation, I believe you are the only person who can help save my life.”
Mr Jones said Dr Crichton then called Mr Bolden saying his “life is at risk” before sending another message on 4 March, saying: “I remain desperate to speak to you and since you know my life is at risk I can’t believe you are obstructing me in this.”
The prosecutor said Dr Crichton told police in interview that he had been “drunk and feeling suicidal” when he accessed the dark web site, and had become obsessed with hitmen but had “thought it was a game and it wasn’t real”.
Dr Crichton denies the charges and the trial continues.