A Hampshire man accused of possessing terrorist documents has told a court that he inadvertently downloaded the files while researching Breaking Bad nine years ago. 

Winchester Crown Court has heard that 22-year-old Charles Cannon has an “extremist mindset” and would post racist, misogynistic, anti-semitic and other “far-right” views on social media.

He is charged with seven counts of possession of terrorist information in 2018 and 2019. He denies the charges

The documents found on his computer included guides on homemade explosives, “unconventional warfare devices and techniques”, and “booby traps”, PA reports. 

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Cannon told the court that he had downloaded a cache of documents on a file-sharing website which were part of a collection created in the name of Uncle Fester – the pseudonym of Steve Preisler who produced books on the manufacture of methamphetamine in the 1980s and was jailed for possession of the illegal drug.

He said he had wanted to research the production of methamphetamine as part of his fixation with the show Breaking Bad which tells the story of a teacher who starts making the drug to fund his cancer treatment.

Cannon, who has autism spectrum disorder, told the court that he was so interested in the show when he was aged about 13 that he dressed up as the main character for book week at school including carrying a bag of “rock candy” to emulate the blue amphetamine produced in the programme.

He said: “At the time I was very interested in a TV programme called Breaking Bad, it was my favourite thing to watch.

“I was particularly interested in the manufacture of methamphetamine and how it was depicted in the show.”

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He added: “It came from my interest in chemistry. The show was lauded for its realism so I was interested in how realistic it was.”

He added that he had not been interested in the homemade explosives document as well as other files that were part of the collection that he originally downloaded in 2014 when he was 13.

Cannon admitted that he had previously held “vile and disgusting” views but his politics had changed under the influence of his Brazilian wife whom he married a year ago.

The former Catholic school pupil, who went on to work for Procter & Gamble after leaving school, said: “I used to believe in some very vile and disgusting things but she has changed me for the better.”

Opening the case, Ben Isaacs, prosecuting, told the jury: “Mr Cannon is a young man with extreme and disturbing political views, he holds far-right beliefs, sympathises with Nazism, fascism, he has offensive things to say about black people, Jews, gay people, women generally and anyone who does not fit in with his extreme view of the world.”

He added “Whatever his intention, he is exactly the sort of radicalised young man whose hands you would not want these offending documents to fall into."

Cannon, from Aldershot, Hampshire, denies the charges and the trial continues.