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Criminal Law: Experiment to turn poo into gold ends in jail sentence

A hopeful alchemist from Northern Ireland was recently jailed after his failed attempts to turn waste matter into gold resulted in criminal damage.

Paul Moran, 30, from Enniskillen, had tried to use his own faeces in his experiments. He put the faeces on an electric heater which started a fire and caused £3,000 worth of damage to his Housing Executive home in a block of flats.

When the fire brigade were called to the Mr Moran's flat at Derrin Park in July 2010, they found the faeces along with other waste products such as fertiliser on the heater.

Judge McFarland said to Mr Moran: "Rather bizarrely you were attempting to make gold from human faeces and waste products.

"It was an interesting experiment to fulfil the alchemist's dream, but wasn't going to succeed."

Mr Moran admitted arson and endangering the lives of others. He has been imprisoned for three months, which will be followed by a further 12 months on licence.

His barrister Des Fahy said that Mr Moran was "a man of considerable intellectual ability" but he had been having problems concerning drug abuse.

Mr Moran is now on anti-psychotic medication and does not pose "a significant risk of serious harm".

Related links:
Read more on the story (The Belfast Telegraph)
Read 'How sentencing is worked out' (FindLaw)
Find local criminal solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)