A FORMER research fellow at Cambridge University has been jailed for two years and 10 months after sending fake poison to Theresa May in the post.

Christopher Doyle, of Fir Street, Widnes, appeared in Liverpool Crown Court today, Thursday, after sending a white powder to the then Prime Minister in 2018, and also for making indecent images of children.

The 54-year-old scientist addressed the letter to Theresa May, c/o The Nazi Party and enclosed a cartoon poster showing her decapitated as well as the powder, a picture of former spy Alexander Litvinenko and a message criticising her policy on Russia.

The powder was later found to be a harmless citric.

The mail was examined on April 5, 2018 at a Swiss Post screening facility which had to be evacuated, the court heard.

Judge Anil Murray said: "Sergei Skripal had been poisoned just about a month before this letter was opened and so the issue of poisoning was high in the nation's consciousness.

"This was a serious offence intended by you to induce fear of danger to human life."

Doyle had denied sending the powder but was convicted following a trial.

He has a PhD in neuroscience and said he previously worked at Government facility Porton Down.

He told police he had also written a letter to Boris Johnson criticising his attitude to Russia and a letter to then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in which he praised him.

He said he believed the powder may have been planted in the letter by MI5 or MI6, the court heard.

Mark Pritchard, defending, said Doyle had been living with agoraphobia since 2013 following the death of a friend, as well bipolar affective disorder.

He added: "He has gone from being a successful research fellow at Cambridge University to living in almost isolation.

"He has been in a bubble of pro-Russian Facebook groups to which he has been a member."

Mr Pritchard added that the incident did not cause any evacuations of nearby buildings or any roads to be closed.

Sentencing, Judge Murray told the defendant: "You are a highly intelligent man.

"You know the effects your condition has.

"These were not spur of the moment offences.

“Mr Pritchard pointed out that the offence was not sophisticated.

"It didn’t have to be. It was sophisticated enough to cause the fear which you wanted to cause."

Joseph Allman, prosecuting, said when police raided Doyle's home they found more than 245,000 indecent images of children on three separate hard drives.

Doyle pleaded guilty to making indecent photographs of children but Judge Murray said he did not accept his claim that he did not have them for his own sexual gratification.

Doyle originally said the images were of an 'artistic nature' and non-sexual.

He was ordered to sign the sexual offenders' register and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for seven years.