Solicitor injected blood into apples, chicken and ready meals at three Fulham supermarkets, court hears

Leoaai Elghareeb thought that he was living in a fake world - like the Truman Show movie starring Jim Carey - and there was an implant in his brain.

A solicitor injected syringes of blood into food at three supermarkets because he thought the world was fake -like in the Truman Show movie, a court heard today.

Leoaai Elghareeb believed there was an implant in his brain and he was being monitored by MI5, so allegedly carried out the injections to alert the "real police".

The 37-year-old regularly used crystal meth and self-medicated for his mental health problems, a court heard.

Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Hammersmith and Fulham, denied three counts of contaminating food and two counts of assault by beating by reason of insanity.

A CCTV still showing Leoaai Elghareeb injecting blood into food at three supermarkets. Credit: SWNS

During the apparent rampage on last August 25, he is accused of carrying a black bucket of syringes some of which had needles attached and throwing them at people outside and inside a Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's in Fulham.

CCTV footage shown to jurors today captured him deliberately injecting syringes into apples, packets of chicken tikka fillets and ready meals in the three shops.

In Sainsbury's, he also threw eggs and swore at staff and customers, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

In the same store, he is accused of pushing a security guard in the chest and outside on the road threw an empty syringe at an NHS surgeon.

A total of 21 syringes were recovered, jurors were told.

In Sainsbury’s Leoaai Elghareeb also threw eggs and swore at staff and customers, Isleworth Crown Court heard. Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The stores were forced to take the precaution of throwing away and destroying all their affected products, and restocking before reopening days later.

This led to costs of £207,000 for Waitrose, £143,000 for Sainsbury's and £117,000 for Tesco.

Dr Bradley Hillier, a psychiatrist and consultant in mental health to the United Nations, gave live evidence to say he believed Elghareeb is suffering from a psychosis that leads him to be out of touch with reality.

He said brain scans completed at HMP Wandsworth following an attack from other inmates exposed brain atrophy as a result of using crystal meth as self-medication.

Dr Hillier said: "I don't think he appreciated that he thought it was morally or legally wrong because he psychotically believed that he would get in touch with the real police who would help him to get this implant out of his brain.

"At that time, Mr Elghareeb was so out of touch with reality that I don't think he would fully appreciate the consequences of those actions in those specific terms."

The court heard Leoaai Elghareeb also injected food with blood at Waitrose and Tesco. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

On why he carried out the syringe attacks, Dr Hillier added: "What Mr Elghareeb believed is the only way he could escape this suffering of this existence was by essentially creating a situation that the real police would somehow intervene and he believed following on from that there would be a process of reconciliation that he would have a brain scan to identify the device in his brain."

The psychiatrist also explained further Mr Elghareeb's history of mental health problems of at least 12 years and his abuse of methamphetamines.

Dr Hillier told the court the defendant believed everyone in the world was an actor, just like in the 1998 film starring Jim Carrey and that MI5 were tracking him.

He told jurors: "It was clear that Mr Elghareeb had a lengthy history of mental health problems, specifically a condition called psychosis which is the state essentially of being out of touch with reality.

"Psychosis can be caused by lots of different things and in Mr Elghareeb's case, there had been multiple times when he had reported the belief that his mind was being interfered with, that a device had been implanted in his ears or brain, and that this was affecting his ability to think.

"He had also reported hearing voices and these voices talked about him, said unpleasant things about him, and he attributed these voices to this device which he thought was implanted in his brain.

"He had also for a number of years had strong suicidal episodes where he had harmed himself, sometimes often in fact in response to hearing these voices.

"For example, he heard voices from an air conditioning machine in the past to tell himself or set his flat on fire.

"More recently around the time of the alleged offences, he was also hearing these voices. He believed that he was being monitored by the British Secret Service.

"He believed his telephone had been hacked and he was trying to seek help from the police.

"He believed essentially the police and everyone around him was fake in a manner that he described like the Truman Show whereby this is a fake world controlled by other people controlling his behaviour.

"He attributed this interference as he said to the British Secret Service but also to his friends and family.

"This was not just something he said at the time of the alleged offences but also the same themes had happened previously while he was not involved in criminal proceedings."

Kyri Argyropoulos, defending, said to jurors before they went out to decide: “Mr Elghareeb was extremely unwell at the time as you have heard from two consultant psychiatrists.

“This behaviour was bizarre. It was odd: the syringes, the eggs, the flowerpot.

“You may recall one of the witnesses shouted out, ‘are you ok?’ Face to face this wasn’t a situation of danger of aggression, it was more concern.

“People saw this man, with bags under his eyes, crouching down at the roots of a tree on Fulham Palace road and saw he was not ok.

“This was not the acts of someone who may feel is of a fit and sane mind.”

Jurors will continue their deliberations on Thursday where the case is expected to conclude.