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A ‘mad’ lawyer injected food with his blood at a string of supermarkets in west London in a £500,000 rampage, a court has heard.
Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, walked into high street shops with a bucket full of hypodermic needles while stabbing products such as Chicken Tikka on Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, between 7pm and 8pm on 25 August last year. , stated.
The attorney also threw a syringe at a doctor, but thankfully it bounced off harmlessly, causing no injury, jurors heard.
The three supermarkets – Sainsbury’s Local, Tesco Express and Little Waitrose – had to dump all their produce as a precaution, resulting in almost £500,000 in losses, Isleworth Crown Court heard.
Police were alerted around 7:40 p.m. m. after it was reported that a man was throwing syringes filled with blood and eggs at the three supermarkets.
Prosecutor Philip Stott said: “Mr Elghareeb is accused of doing two sets of things: firstly contaminating property and secondly assaulting two people, Bilal Ansari and Dr Meghana Kulkarni.
Mr Elghareeb walked down Fulham Palace Road in west London
“In short, what happened is this: in the early evening of a late summer day last year, Mr Elghareeb walked down Fulham Palace Road in west London with a bucket. He was full of syringes, some of which had hypodermic needles.
Several of those syringes were filled with blood, his. Elghareeb then entered, in turn, three supermarkets on Fulham Palace Road, in order: they were Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and proceeded to insert those syringes into food products within those branches of those supermarkets.
Along the way, he also threw some of the syringes at people inside and outside the store, even hitting a passerby in the street.
‘When confronted by his actions by a succession of store personnel inside the supermarkets, he attacked one of them by pushing him, in addition to hurling verbal insults at those around him.’
Dr. Kulkarni started talking to other people on the street
Elghareeb could be seen on security camera footage wearing sneakers, black shorts and a black American-style sports T-shirt, carrying a bucket apparently full of syringes.
As she walked down Fulham Palace Road, she stared at Dr Kulkarni, which made her feel “uncomfortable because he seemed aggressive”, Ms Stott said.
As she passed him on the street, he threw a syringe at her which hit her in the chest.
“Fortunately, the syringe did not have a needle and it just bounced off her without causing injury,” Stott said.
Dr. Kulkarni started talking to other people on the street who were picking up syringes from the ground.
Dr. Kulkarni said in a statement read to the court: “I thought the suspect might have been on a pub crawl because he was in possession of the bucket and because he seemed to be swaying a bit.”
He was walking down Crabtree Lane, Fulham, when he saw Elghareeb, whom he referred to as ‘suspicious’, staring at her.
She said: “The suspect was looking at me and at first I thought he was looking at me because of the way he was looking at me.
Elghareeb was walking in a “pretty aggressive” manner, she added, continuing, “When the suspect passed me, he threw something at my chest.”
Her object, which she soon realized was a syringe, hit her in the collarbone but did not cause any injury.
She said: ‘While looking at this item, I realized it was a small empty plastic syringe.
“I did not touch the syringe and left it where it had fallen on the road near a parked car.
“At no time during our interaction did the suspect say anything to me and I did not say anything to him.”
She approached a group of people outside a convenience store and asked, ‘did he do something to you?’
They replied: ‘Yes, he has been throwing needles and syringes all this way.’
She called the police to report the incident.
He then walked into Little Waitrose on Fulham Palace Road and began pricking food products, including apples and chicken tikka fillets, with syringes.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Elghareeb casually walking around the store for around two minutes, stabbing food and throwing syringes.
When staff were alerted, they asked all customers to drop off their purchases and evacuate the store.
George Bruce, shift manager at Little Waitrose store, said: “I was helping my colleagues at checkout when I noticed a man throw something in the direction of me and my colleague.
‘I recognized the man as someone who was in the store the week before.
‘He Previously he was exchanging conversations with food products and smelling plastic containers.
‘This time he looked very tired and had bags under his eyes.
“My manager told everyone to drop their purchases and leave the store.”
A Sainsbury’s security guard, Bilal Ansari, said he saw a man enter the store and “throw an egg into the boxes”.
“Then he turned around and threw an egg at me,” Mr Ansari said. “He said the ‘f word’ and yelled and yelled ‘don’t touch me’.”
He then got “very angry” and confronted the man while “cursing at him”, causing Elghareeb to attack him.
He went on to say that Elghareeb then turned to a female customer and said, ‘Why are you looking at me, you fat bitch?
He then threw an egg at the customer.
‘A customer approached me and presented me with a cooked chicken with a syringe inside.’
Elghareeb continued down the road to Sainsburys and began injecting food and throwing syringes once more.
He shoved security guard Mr Ansari in the chest as he shouted things like: ‘You are all vile people and Sainsbury’s is vile’.
He engaged in similar behavior at Tesco Express, the third supermarket, throwing syringes and sticking them into food, forcing staff to shut down the store immediately.
Shortly before he was arrested, he walked past a tapas bar called Avanti and threw a flower pot through the open door, narrowly missing a waiter.
The three supermarkets found a total of 21 syringes during an extensive search and deep cleaning before they could reopen.
He was arrested just before 8:00 p.m. m. outside a pub called The Distillers.
He did not answer any questions when he was interviewed later.
Police officers recovered a black plastic syringe box on Fulham Palace Road.
Stott said: ‘Stores also inevitably took the precaution of throwing away and destroying all their products before reopening a few days later.
All of that cost, with respect to Waitrose, approximately £207,000, with respect to Sainsbury’s £143,000 and with respect to Tesco approximately £117,000. So almost half a million pounds in losses for those three businesses.
It was agreed that Elghareeb committed the crimes, but the defense is likely to argue that “Mr Elghareeb was, in the legal sense, insane at the time of these acts,” Mr Stott said.
Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Fulham, denies three counts of contamination of property and two counts of assault.
He appeared at Isleworth Crown Court wearing a gray prison tracksuit and dark-rimmed glasses.
Leoaai Elghareeb Quick and Facts
- Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, entered stores in Hammersmith, West London, last August
- He injected food products and threw needles around the three supermarkets
- Elghareeb first went into Waitrose, before entering Sainsbury’s and Tesco