Man who injected food products with blood in Fulham supermarkets claims insanity

A solicitor accused of injecting food products with his own blood has denied he was guilty, claiming insanity.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, entered five pleas of not guilty to contaminating food and assault. The court heard he walked into three supermarkets carrying a bucketful of hypodermic needles before jabbing at random products on 25 August last year.

A jury at Isleworth Crown Court was shown CCTV footage on Tuesday (22 February) which shows Elghareeb entering the Sainsbury’s Local in Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, between 7.00pm and 8.00pm.

Wearing an American sports-style t-shirt and shorts, Elghareeb makes his way towards the ready meal section before jabbing food with a syringe. The footage then shows him walking over to the next section, eyeing up further products while holding what appears to be another syringe in his mouth, before injecting more food.

Elghareeb also made his way into Tesco Express and Little Waitrose before police were called to reports of a man throwing blood-filled syringes and eggs. The three supermarkets had to throw away all of their products as a precaution, racking up nearly £500,000 in losses.

It is agreed that Elghareeb committed the offences but his defence is that, in the legal sense, he was insane at the time of the incident.

He denies three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault in relation to throwing a needle at Dr Meghana Kulkarni and pushing security guard Bilal Ansari in the chest. As he assaulted Mr Ansari, Elghareeb allegedly shouted: ‘You are all vile people and Sainsbury’s is vile.’

Above: CCTV footage showing Elghareeb contaminating food products 

Elghareeb ‘severely psychotic’ during incident

Dr Bradley Hillier, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told the court Elghareeb was ‘severely psychotic’ at the time and could not appreciate his actions were ‘legally and morally wrong’.

He said: ‘He was not thinking straight. He was in a situation where he was trying to escape this wrath that the psychosis had created for him.

‘He was so burdened and tortured, is the word he used.’

Judge Alistair Hammerton sent out the jury to consider its verdicts. Prosecutor Philip Stott detailed the events leading up to Elghareeb’s arrest, he said:

‘In short what happened is this: in the early evening of a late summer’s day last year, Mr Elghareeb walked down the Fulham Palace Road in West London carrying a bucket. It was filled with syringes, some of which had hypodermic needles attached.

‘A number of those syringes were filled with blood – his own. Mr Elghareeb then entered, in turn, three supermarkets on the Fulham Palace Road – in order: they were Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – and he proceeded to stick those syringes in food products inside those branches of those supermarkets.

‘Along the way he also threw some of the syringes at people inside and outside the store including hitting a passerby on the street.’

Images above: CCTV footage of Elghareeb with a syringe in his mouth, Elgareeb appears to laugh after contaminating food

21 syringes recovered in total

Elghareeb threw a syringe at Dr Kulkarni, who then started speaking to other people on the street who were picking up syringes off the floor, before calling police.

When the supermarket staff were alerted, they asked all customers to drop their shopping and evacuate the stores.

Shortly before he was arrested, he walked past a Tapas bar called Avanti and threw a plant pot through the open door, narrowly missing a waiter, the court heard.

The three supermarkets found a total of 21 syringes during a thorough search and deep-clean before they were able to reopen.

A black plastic syringe box was also recovered from Fulham Palace Road by police officers.

Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Fulham, denies three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault. The case continues.

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