Lawyer who injected his own blood into food at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose using hypodermic needles is detained in mental hospital, judge rules

  • Leoaai Elghareeb, 38, caused £500,000 worth damage on Fulham Palace Road
  • Court heard he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and heard voices

A lawyer who injected his own blood into supermarket food at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose using hypodermic needles has been detained in a mental hospital, a judge has ruled.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 38, wandered into three stores on Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, carrying a bucketful of hypodermic needles on 25 August 2021.

The solicitor jabbed products including an apple, bacon, buttermilk and Chicken Tikka fillets.

He also threw a syringe at a doctor but luckily it bounced off her causing no injuries.

The three supermarkets – Sainsbury’s Local, Tesco Express and Little Waitrose – had to throw away all their products as a precaution, causing nearly £500,000 in losses.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 38, has been detained in a mental hospital after he injected food with his blood at a series of supermarkets in a £500,000 rampage

The Lebanese lawyer denied three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault and a jury formally found him not guilty by reason of insanity last May.

Elghareeb had previously worked at some of London’s most prestigious ‘Magic Circle’ law firms before he began to abuse crystal meth, Isleworth Crown Court had heard.

Elghareeb, dressed in a grey t-shirt, spoke only to confirm his name when he appeared in court via video-link.

Judge Alistair Hammerton told Elghareeb: ‘The food contaminated offences concerns you contaminating food through the injection of a syringe, each were clearly visible, and you made no effort to disguise your actions.

‘Whilst the three stores suffered substantial financial loss it is fortunate no physical harmed occurred and there is no evidence that serious physical harm was a likely consequence of your actions.’

The judge made the order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act but without any restriction.

This means Elghareeb is put into hospital for treatment, but he can appeal to the courts if he disagrees with this sentence and your Responsible Clinician, the hospital managers or tribunal can discharge you from this section.

The hospital can also only give you treatment without your permission for up to 3 months.

The lawyer is shown on CCTV picking up a food product before allegedly injecting it inside a Sainsbury’s Local 

He wandered into three stores on Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, carrying a bucketful of hypodermic needles in August 2021

This is opposed to the stricter section 41 of the Mental Health Act which means you can only be discharged from hospital if the Secretary of State for Justice agrees.

The judge said Elghareeb will continue to receive psychiatric treatment at St Bernard’s Hospital, Southall.

Prosecutor Diana Wilson earlier told the court Elghareeb walked along Fulham Palace Road with his bucket of syringes filled with his blood.

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

‘As he was confronted, because of his actions, by a succession of store personnel inside the supermarkets he assaulted one of them by pushing him, in addition to throwing verbal insults at those around him.’

Elghareeb then pushed security guard Bilal Ansari in the chest shouting: ‘You are all vile people and Sainsbury’s is vile.’

He did the same in Tesco, injecting food and throwing syringes, forcing staff to close the store immediately.

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.

He jabbed products including an apple, bacon, buttermilk and Chicken Tikka fillets

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

The court heard Elghareeb was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had heard voices commanding him to do things by controlling parts of his body.

Elghareeb even claimed one of the voices to have been that of former Prime Minster Boris Johnson.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Nicholas Larsen said that Elghareeb’s mental state had ‘not changed significantly’ since last year.

Kyria Argyropoulos, defending, said: ‘The present case was one where Mr Elghareeb was very much making a cry for help, trying to get himself noticed by the police which he succeeded in doing.

‘His progress was described as “heart-warming” by Dr Larsen, and it is perhaps encouraging how much better he had presented himself both outwardly and to the experts due to his continuing treatment at the hospital.

‘Everything we heard today suggests there is a very good and considered safety net surrounding whatever happens to Mr Elghareeb in the future.’

Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Fulham, had denied three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault.

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