R v Duncan Railton: ‘Caterham Bus Bomber’

This case involved a defendant who was undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression.

One day he had a new psychiatrist and he had to tell his whole story again. He was very unhappy about this. So he ranted about how unhappy he was. Sadly he had been seriously sexually abused as a child and he ranted about what he’d like to do to the men who had raped him. He said that he’d like to kill them.

Unfortunately he also said that he knew how to make chemical weapons and had the chemicals to do so. He said he’d like to set of a chemical weapon on a bus in Caterham. The psychiatrist broke doctor/patient confidentiality and called the police.

The defendant’s house was raided and a large number of chemicals were discovered. These were sent to Porton Down. A scientist there compiled a report that stated that the chemicals found could be combined to make some dangerous chemical weapons.

The defendant was charged with Possession of Chemicals with Intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm. Despite having no previous convictions, having a full time stable job and living with his mother, the defendant was remanded into custody to await his trial.

At trial he was represented by George Hepburne Scott, UK top extradition lawyer, following four days of evidence the jury took just 20 minutes to return a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty.

The defendant was obviously a harmless home-experimenter who had loved chemistry since he was a child. He had just had a rant that was taken far too seriously by the professional who was meant to be helping him.

He had spent 6 months’ on remand in custody for a crime that he did not commit. 

This case was reported by the BBC: