"Yes, I'm relieved to finally go back to the shops as normal...sorry, what's that?"
A solicitor, who previously worked at Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Milbank, has been charged with contaminating or interfering with goods in three London supermarkets.
Leoaai Elghareeb, 37 years old, allegedly used a syringe to inject blood into food at Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's stores in Fulham.
The solicitor appeared in court last week. The prosecution said Elghareeb entered the Waitrose store on Fulham Palace road on Wednesday 25th August at 7.30pm where he proceeded to use syringes "to inject food items with blood." He then went on to inject food in a Tesco and Sainsbury's store on the same road, said the prosecution, and threw eggs in the Sainsbury's store. He was subsequently arrested.
The prosecution said the precise contents of the blood were not known at this stage, and food packages are being sent off for chemical testing.
Elghareeb was a man of "previous good character" who currently runs his own legal consultancy business, the court heard. He trained at HSF from 2009 to 2011, and later joined Allen & Overy's Dubai office as an associate from November 2012 to January 2013, before transferring to A&O's co-operation firm in Saudi Arabia from May 2013 to June 2014. He also had a stint as an associate at Milbank on a 6-month contract during 2014 to 2015.
The court remanded Elghareeb in custody, with a plea hearing set for later this month.
Hammersmith and Fulham council issued an "emergency alert" over social media last week warning shoppers to throw away any food purchased from the three stores on Wednesday night.
“The food items affected are believed to be processed meat and microwaveable products." said the Metropolitan police in a statement released shortly after the incident. "It is currently unknown as to how many items have been contaminated, or what with. Investigations are ongoing to establish if other businesses in the area are involved in the incident.”
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