Sheep farmer guilty of contaminating baby food with metal and blackmailing Tesco staff | UK

Sheep farmer guilty of contaminating baby food with metal and blackmailing Tesco staff | UK

A sheep farmer has been found guilty of contaminating jars of baby food with shards of metal and blackmailing supermarket staff about their whereabouts.
Nigel Wright , 45, was convicted of two counts of food contamination after placing three jars of baby food laced with shards of metal in two Tesco stores.
The sheep farmer, of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire , was also found guilty of three counts of blackmail for demanding cryptocurrency from Tesco in exchange for revealing where the contaminated food had been placed.
Wright was convicted of a further charge of blackmail for demanding £150,000 worth of bitcoin from a driver with whom he had had a road rage altercation.
Image: Nigel Wright was convicted of two counts of food contamination. Pic: Herts Police The 45-year-old hatched a plot to get rich by deliberately contaminating jars of Heinz baby food between May 2018 and February 2020, the Old Bailey heard.
Advertisement He sent dozens of letters and emails to the supermarket giant in a bid to extort £1.4m in bitcoin, jurors were told.
In one draft note, Quote: : “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.”
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Tesco was forced to issue a product recall when a mother from Lockerbie, Scotland discovered pieces of metal in a jar of Heinz sweet and sour chicken baby food.
In December 2019, Morven Smith had already fed a few spoonfuls to her 10-month-old baby when she spotted “something shiny” in the bowl and pulled it out.
She told Wright’s trial: “It was horrendous. I felt sick I was so shocked.”
Wright was caught on CCTV placing the tampered jar on a Tesco shelf before leaving with flowers for his primary school teacher wife, a bottle of wine, and more jars of baby food.
Image: The 45-year-old demanded money from Tesco staff in exchange for revealing which products he had contaminated A second mother, Harpreet Kaur-Singh, later came forward in Rochdale to say she too had discovered metal while feeding her nine-month-old daughter.
In total, 42,000 jars of Heinz baby food were recovered, although there is no evidence that any more had been tampered with.
When Wright was tracked down to his family home, police found photographs of contaminated baby food on his laptop – with some the same flavour as the Rochdale jars.
Officers also recovered some £100,000 in bitcoin, which had been sent by undercover officers during the investigation.
Image: Tesco was forced to recall thousands of products. Pic: FSA Giving evidence, Wright admitted planting one contaminated jar in the Lockerbie store but denied tampering with stock in Rochdale.
He claimed he was forced into it by travellers who had threatened to rape his wife and hang his children “from the trees”.
Judge Mr Justice Warby asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared ahead of Wright’s sentencing hearing on 28 September, adding: “(Wright) has or appears to be mentally disordered.”
He warned him that he faces a lengthy custodial sentence, with typical terms ranging between eight and 17 years in prison.
Wright did not react as the jury returned its verdict.

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