Solicitor who injected food with blood found not guilty due to insanity

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By Aishah Hussain on

Leoaai Elghareeb suffered psychosis during supermarket rampage last summer, causing nearly £500,000 of damages

A solicitor who injected food at three west London supermarkets with his own blood has been found not guilty due to insanity.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, sparked panic in the aisles last summer when he entered Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores on Fulham Palace Road with a bucketful of syringes containing his blood.

He was captured on CCTV injecting items including apples, ready meals and a packet of chicken tikka fillets, causing staff to shut down the stores as a safety precaution and throw away produce amounting to £467,000.

Elghareeb, who used to work at Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Milbank, also threw syringes and eggs at customers and staff, and assaulted a security guard during the rampage on August 25.

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

He denied three charges of contaminating goods and two charges of assault and yesterday, a jury at Isleworth Crown Court found him not guilty by reason of insanity after the prosecution did not dispute the diagnosis.

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Dr Bradley Hillier, a consultant psychiatrist, gave evidence that Elghareeb was suffering from psychosis when he went on his supermarket rampage.

Jurors heard Elghareeb had strong suicidal episodes and tried to hang himself, having suffered mental health problems over the previous 12 years. He believed he was being controlled by government spies and likened his experience to the character played by Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, who lived in a world that was not real.

The solicitor, who ran a legal consultancy business, began to abuse crystal meth as part of his “work hard and play hard lifestyle”, the court heard.

Elghareeb trained at HSF from 2009 to 2011, and later joined A&O’s Dubai office as an associate from November 2012 to May 2013. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, transferring to a former A&O partner firm in Riyadh from May 2013 to June 2014. He also worked as an associate at Milbank on a six-month contract during 2014 to 2015.

Earlier this year a jury had to be discharged after they failed to reach a verdict.

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