Sheep Farmer Convicted After Placing Jars Of Baby Food Laced With Metal Shards In Tesco
A farmer has been found guilty of lacing three jars of baby food with shards of metal and putting them on shelves in two Tesco supermarkets.
Nigel Wright, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, was convicted of two counts of contaminating goods and a further three of blackmail for demanding £1.4 million ($1.8m) in bitcoin from the supermarket giant in exchange for revealing where he had hidden the poisoned food.
He was charged with tainting one jar at a Tesco in Lockerbie, Scotland, and a further two at a store in Rochdale between May 2018 and February 2020.
Wright admitted to placing a jar in Lockerbie, but denied planting the other two in the Tesco in Rochdale.
The 45-year-old was also found guilty of a further count of blackmail after demanding a driver give him £150,000 ($196,000) in cryptocurrency following a road rage altercation.
The court heard that Wright allegedly sent dozens of letters to Tesco claiming he would tell them where the contaminated items were if they met his demands.
He was later tracked down to his home, where officers discovered photos of the baby food on his computer.
A draft letter to Tesco said: "Imagine a baby's mouth cut open and blood pouring out, or the inside of their bellies cut and bleeding.
"You pay, you save them."
He signed the letter off with, 'Guy Brush and the Dairy Pirates'.
Wright had told the court he was part of a group of disgruntled farmers who were angry at the low price they received for their milk.
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He also claimed he had been threatened by travellers to blackmail the supermarket after an altercation where he fired a warning shot with his shotgun at a group of men who he spotted on his land looking for scrap metal.
Wright told the court that the travellers threatened to rape his wife and hang his children 'from the trees' if he didn't do what they wanted.
He also claimed they told him to rob a bank or blackmail a supermarket by poisoning food in order to get the money they demanded.
During the trial, which concluded at the Old Bailey today (20 August), it was heard that while shopping at the Tesco in Lockerbie, Wright spent £30 ($39) on a bunch of flowers for his primary school teacher wife and a bottle of wine for dinner.
Two mothers spoke of their horror after they almost fed the contaminated food to their babies.
Morven Smith, from Lockerbie, said she was feeding her 10-month-old son a portion of Heinz sweet and sour chicken baby food when, luckily, she spotted the blades.
Harprett Kaur Singh, from Rochdale, also contacted Tesco to inform them that she spotted sharp pieces of metal while feeding her nine-month-old daughter.
The court heard that Ms Singh threw the jar away, only to find more blades in another jar of baby food she had purchased.
Following the shocking discoveries, Tesco recalled 42,000 jars of baby food, though no more contaminated items have been found.
Wright will be sentenced on 28 September.
Featured Image Credit: Hertfordshire Constabulary