Lawyer who injected food into Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose with his own BLOOD denies guilt due to insanity
A LAWYER who injected his own blood into supermarket food and caused millions of pounds of loss has denied his guilt saying he was crazy.
Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, has denied carrying a black bucket of syringes and throwing them at people outside and inside a Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s in west London last year.
He is also accused of throwing a syringe of blood at an NHS doctor in the street during his alleged rampage on August 25 on Fulham Palace Road.
Jurors at Isleworth Crown Court saw CCTV footage of Elghareeb deliberately injecting syringes into apples, packets of chicken tikka fillets and ready meals at the three supermarkets.
At a Sainsbury’s store, he threw eggs and swore at staff and customers, before shoving a security guard in the chest.
Officers arrested Elghareed outside a pub shortly after he threw a flowerpot through an open door, and 21 syringes were discovered.
A Waitrose worker also told the court that the week before the incident he had seen the solicitor ‘smell wrappers’ in the store.
All stores were forced to take the precaution of throwing away and destroying all their products, and restocking, before reopening a few days later.
This resulted in costs of £207,000 for Waitrose, £143,000 for Sainsbury’s and £117,000 for Tesco.
Elghareeb today denied three counts of contaminating food with intent to cause public alarm, anxiety or injury and two counts of assault by beating.
Prosecutor Philip Stott told the court: “Early on a late summer evening last year, Mr Elghareeb drove down Fulham Palace Road in west London with a bucket. It was full of syringes, some of which had hypodermic needles attached.
“A number of these syringes were filled with blood – his own. Mr Elghareeb then, in turn, walked into three supermarkets on Fulham Palace Road – in order: Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – and then inserted these syringes in food products inside these branches of these supermarkets.
“Along the way, he also threw some of the syringes at people inside and outside the store, including punching a passerby in the street.
“As he was confronted, because of his actions, with a succession of store employees inside the supermarkets, he attacked one of them by pushing him, in addition to hurling verbal insults at his gang.”
Waitrose worker George Bruce recalled Elghareeb throwing objects in his direction who looked “very tired” as if he “hadn’t slept in days”.
Customers then came to draw staff’s attention to needles sticking out of the food, leading managers to evacuate the store.
Security guard Bilal Ansari, who works for Sainsbury’s, claims Elghareeb called him ‘vile’ and also shouted that ‘Sainsbury is vile’.
He also saw him yell “why are you looking at me, fat b***h” before throwing an egg at the customer.
Dr Meghana Kulkarni was walking towards the Thames when Elghareeb walked towards her, before throwing the plastic syringe at her chest.
‘ILLNESS OF THE SPIRIT’
Mr Stott added: “He then went to a branch of Little Waitrose, located at 201-2017 Fulham Palace Road. He started throwing syringes and also sticking them in the food packets there.
“Once the staff realized what had happened, they told everyone to drop their groceries and leave, then closed the store.
“A number of syringes filled with blood were recovered from the branch, some of which were found on the ground, and some were stuck in packets of food, for example apples and a packet of chicken tikka fillets.
“After leaving Waitrose, the accused continued north along Fulham Palace Road and straight to a branch of Sainsbury’s Local.
“He performed the same action, throwing syringes and sticking them into products inside the store.
“The accused pushed one of the security officers on his chest. It was Mr. Bilal Ansari.
“Again, staff closed the store and found syringes on the floor and in items like meat packets and ready meals.
“As you would expect, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco thoroughly searched their stores and then gave them a deep clean before they could reopen.
Jurors were told while it is agreed that Elghareeb committed the actions on August 25, 2021, and is fit to stand trial now, the defense will say he “suffered from a mental illness so as not to not knowing what he was doing was wrong.”
Elghareeb, dressed in a gray tracksuit and jail glasses, spoke at the arraignment only to confirm his name and enter his five not-guilty pleas to food contamination and assault.
He shook his leg several times during the hearing but showed no other emotion.
The trial continues.