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Man 'bought wife wine after food tampering'

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Accused: Nigel Wright

Accused: Nigel Wright

PA

Accused: Nigel Wright

An alleged blackmailer bought wine and flowers for his wife after planting a jar of baby food containing metal shards at Tesco, a court heard.

Farmer Nigel Wright (45) is accused of trying to extort £1.4m in bitcoin from the supermarket by deliberately contaminating goods between May 2018 and February 2020.

The discovery of the jar in Lockerbie prompted Tesco to issue a national product recall and remove remaining stock from its shelves.

Wright admitted placing it on a shelf, but claimed he was forced into it by travellers who threatened to rape his wife and hang his children "from the trees", the Old Bailey heard.

Under cross-examination, the father-of-two said he had been followed by a BMW on his way to Lockerbie, even though road cameras did not pick up a tail.

En route, he had marked up the jar of Heinz baby food he said he had been given to plant, jurors heard.

Wright said he spent some £30 on goods at the store, including a bunch of flowers for his primary school teacher wife and a bottle of wine for their evening meal.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC suggested CCTV from the shop showed he had taken care to avoid suspicion.

He said: "What I suggest we see, the first thing you do is take two jars off the shelf and you take the jar you had come with from your pocket and put it in the trolley. And then, as if changing your mind, put the jar back on the shelf.

"I'm suggesting you have plainly given quite a bit of thought to going about it without attracting suspicion. Did you give quite a bit of thought to that?"

Wright replied: "No. I was worried what this person following was going to do.

"The reason I put it on the shelf was because I thought these people might check."

Mr Christopher alleged that Wright had also planted more contaminated baby food an another Tesco in Rochdale.

He said: "The truth is you did place those two jars in Rochdale and you knew there was more than the jar in Lockerbie that had been placed out there and might be bought by customers.

"Even by then you had seen the news of the recall of the jars because of the Lockerbie jar. You were still looking to see if there was any other news."

Wright admitted carrying out a Google search, but continued to deny being responsible for the Rochdale jars.

The defendant also denied that dozens of letters sent to the supermarket chain were about "attacking Tesco".

Wright, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, denies two counts of contaminating goods and three counts of blackmail for demanding cryptocurrency from Tesco in exchange for revealing where the contaminated food had been placed. He also denies a further charge of blackmail for allegedly demanding £150,000 worth of bitcoin from a driver with whom he had had a road rage altercation.

Belfast Telegraph