Lawyer, 37, who injected food with his own blood in Sainsbury’s, Tesco Express and Waitrose appears in court ahead of sentencing
- Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, targeted three supermarkets in Fulham on August 25, 2021
- He injected syringes filled with his blood into goods at the three supermarkets
- He claimed voices including that of PM Boris Johnson were controlling him
A lawyer who injected supermarket food with his blood will be sentenced next month.
Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, went to three shops on Fulham Palace Road in west London on August 25, 2021 carrying a bucket filled with hypodermic needles.
The solicitor jabbed products including an apple, bacon, buttermilk and Chicken Tikka Fillets.
He also threw a syringe at a doctor but 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.
It was agreed Elghareeb committed the offences, but his barrister argued he was insane at the time he carried out those acts.
He denied three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault and a jury at Isleworth Crown Court formally found him not guilty by reason of insanity last month.
Lawyer Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, injected food with his blood at a series of supermarkets in a £500,000 rampage
Judge Alastair Hammerton ordered psychiatrist reports and adjourned sentence until 15 July.
He said: ‘I do need to hear from the psychiatrist.
‘I certainly have some questions as to the position of risk.’
Judge Hammerton said Elghareeb may be transferred to a medical facility before his sentence.
‘The defendant may be transferred in any event. There may be an interim hospital order.
‘I have listed the sentence for the 15 July at 2pm, time estimate two hours and the two experts to attend remotely.’
Elghareeb was remanded in custody ahead of sentence.
Dr Frank Farnham, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, previously told the court Elghareeb suffers from a ‘severe disease of the mind resulting in a loss of a sense of reality.’
He said Elghareeb heard voices commanding him to do things by controlling his dreams and parts of his body.
‘These are often encountered by issues of schizophrenia.’
He claimed one of these voices to be Boris Johnson, while another was a former colleague.
Elghareeb had previously worked at some of London’s most prestigious ‘Magic Circle’ law firms before he began to abuse crystal meth as part of his ‘work hard and play hard lifestyle.’
‘He’s bright and academically done very well,’ said Dr Farnham.
‘He has had an extremely successful career within the legal profession.’
Dr Farnham said the solicitor had suffered psychological trauma including periods of homelessness after coming out as gay to his family.
In 2020 he had tried to hang himself to make the voices in his head stop.
Elghareeb believed the voices in his head resulted from government spies placing implants in his ears and skull.
Dr Farnham concluded: ‘It didn’t cross his mind whether it was legal or unlawful, he was making a desperate attempt to draw attention from the police and be treated.
Elghareeb is shown on CCTV picking up a food product before allegedly injecting it inside a Sainsbury’s Local
Elghareeb attacked the three supermarkets on Fulham Park Road, pictured
Police forensic teams tried to identify the goods which had been injected by Elghareeb, though in total, more than £500,000 of goods had to be ditched
‘He was in such a disordered mental state that he couldn’t form a rational decision.
‘They were a set of actions to draw attention to the fact that he needed treatment.’
Fellow psychiatrist Dr Bradley Hillier had assessed Elghareeb four months after the incident while he was on remand in HMP Wandsworth.
He said Elghareeb has had a ‘lengthy history of mental health problems’ and has previously sought help from the mental health services in this country.
He has at least a 12 year history of mental health problems including ‘strong suicidal episodes’ and times when he has harmed himself.
‘He heard voices from an air conditioning machine in the past that told him to set himself or his flat on fire,’ Dr Hillier told the court.
As long ago as 2012, he believed that he was being tracked by the security services.
Dr Hillier said: ‘He believed he was being monitored by the British Secret Service.
‘He believed his telephone was being hacked.
‘He was trying to seek help from the police.
‘He believed essentially that the police and everything around him was fake.
‘He attributed this interference, as I’ve said, to the British Secret Service but also to his friends and family.
‘He believed friends and family through the device could suck thoughts in and out of his brain.’
Elghareeb likened his experience to the character played by Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, as he believed he was living in a world where nothing was real.
Dr Hillier continued: ‘My diagnosis is that Mr Elghareeb suffers from an illness that causes psychosis.
‘This could include schizophrenia or another psychotic illness such as depression that can cause psychosis.’
He added that Elghareeb has had a history of using crystal meth intermittently over the years which is known to contribute to psychosis.
‘People take substances for a variety of complex reasons but most often to manage emotional difficulties and also to control symptoms of mental health problems,’ Dr Hillier said.
‘Even though he knew he was literally throwing needles and throwing them into food; he was doing this psychotically believing he would get in touch with the real police who would help him get the implant out of his brain.
‘He was not thinking straight.
‘He was in a situation where he was trying to escape this worth that the psychosis had created for him.
‘He was so burdened and tortured, is the word he used.’
Elghareeb, from Fulham, denied three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
He appeared in court wearing a dark blue suit with long slicked back hair.
Elghareeb was remanded in custody until 9 June.
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