A sheep farmer who planted baby food laced with shards of metal in Tesco stores as part of a lengthy blackmail campaign against the supermarket has been jailed for 14 years.
Nigel Wright, 45, hatched a plot to get rich by deliberately contaminating jars of Heinz baby food between May 2018 and February 2020, the Old Bailey previously heard.
He sent dozens of letters and emails to the supermarket giant in a bid to extort £1.4 million in bitcoin, jurors were told.
In one draft note, he wrote: “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.”
On Monday Wright was handed 11 years by Mr Justice Warby at the Old Bailey for his plot against Tesco, and a further three years consecutive for a charge of blackmail against a driver with whom he had had a road rage altercation.
Wright sent the driver a letter demanding £150,000 in bitcoin with threats to execute him with a rifle and kill his wife and children unless he complied after an incident on the A46.
Mr Justice Warby described the contents of the letter as “blood chilling”.
His total sentence was 14 years.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Warby said: “You were under no pressure from others, or from circumstances.
“It is not as if you had – for instance – a legitimate grievance against Tesco, nor can any other explanation easily be identified for engaging in this series of repulsive actions, apart from greed.”
Wright, who signed off as the fictional character “Guy Brush” and “the Dairy Pirates”, claimed to be part of a cohort of farmers angry at the low price they were paid for their milk.
He was caught on CCTV placing a 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.
Wright was convicted of two counts of contaminating food after placing three jars of baby food laced with shards of metal in two Tesco stores at the Old Bailey in August.
Wright, of 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.
He 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.
His trial previously heard that two mothers were moments away from feeding their infants shards of metal when they spotted them.
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, Wales Online reports.
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 said: “It was horrendous. I felt sick I was so shocked.”