Retired GP is cleared of trying to hire a Chechen hitman on the dark web to kill financial adviser

Dr David Crichton, pictured, has been cleared of trying to hire a ‘Chechan mob’ to have his financial adviser killed

A retired GP has been cleared of trying to hire a ‘Chechan mob’ over the dark web to kill his financial adviser over a feud around his pension funds. 

Dr David Crichton, of Bournemouth, was accused of trying to enlist assassins to murder Andrew Bolden on February 26 last year.

The prosecution at Winchester Crown Court claimed Dr Crichton, 64, wanted Mr Bolden, pension and wealth investment adviser for Edinburgh-based private bank Brown Shipley, killed because he ‘lost £300,000 from his pension’ due to his advice.

He was however convicted of three charges of sending malicious communications to the financial worker, including two text messages and one phone call with the aim of making Mr Bolden fear he would commit suicide. 

Dr Crichton previously told the court he filled in an order on the dark web to hire a hitman to murder his financial adviser to ‘clear his head’ after suffering from depression – and claimed he never intended for him to be killed.

He was accused of selecting an order to ‘kill the b******’ with an equivalent cost of 5,000 dollars to be paid in bitcoin to the ‘Chechans’. 

The defendant told the court that he had ‘lost or misappropriated about £1 million’ of his pension fund partly as a result of receiving advice from Mr Bolden, who was cleared of giving wrong guidance.

Crichton said that following the loss, he had been diagnosed with ‘treatment-resistant depression’ which had led to him suffering suicidal thoughts which he felt could only be resolved by discussing the issue with Mr Bolden.

He explained this was the reason he sent the messages subject to the malicious communication charges to Mr Bolden in which he said ‘he was the only person who can help save my life’.

Speaking at court earlier this week, Dr Crichton said he went on to the site on the dark web to examine a theory of helping to treat suicidal thoughts for himself and for others.

He said that he had found out about the website over a link to crowdfund a contract killing of Donald Trump which he believed to be a scam.

Dr Crichton, pictured,was convicted of three counts of sending malicious messages to Andrew Bolden with the intent to make him think he was planning to kill himself

Dr Crichton blamed Mr Bolden, pictured, for him losing £300,000 from his pension fund

Dr Crichton, left, was convicted of three counts of sending malicious messages to Andrew Bolden, right, with the intent to make him think he was planning to kill himself

He said he wanted to research the idea of whether ‘throwing away an idea’ can help someone feel better and he entered Mr Bolden’s details into the order form as a way of ‘clearing his head’.

Crichton said: ‘I am a research doctor, I felt this may be some useful research for the treatment of suicide, I did think my mood improved afterwards.

‘I knew Mr Bolden was completely safe, I knew there was no threat to him at all, first of all I thought the website was an obvious scam and I hadn’t paid any money.’

The defendant added that he was ‘very wealthy’ and he would have had no difficulties in finding the 5,000 dollars required to order the contract killing if he had been serious in carrying out the order.

Crichton, a church warden and keen triathlon athlete, said he had suffered a stroke and a pulmonary embolism as a result of medication for his depression and had suffered head injuries in a cycling accident in January 2017 which had affected his thinking. He also had a more serious crash in January 2018.