A British sheep farmer has been found guilty of blackmail and food contamination after trying to extort a massive amount in bitcoin.
Nigel Wright had laced jars of Heinz baby food with shards of metal, before demanding a major supermarket pay him in bitcoin to reveal where he’d placed the potentially lethal products.
Wright received the guilty verdict earlier today at the Old Bailey (the UK’s central criminal court). He claimed that travelers had coerced him into contaminating the food with threats against his family.
BTC Baby Food Blackmailer Awaits Sentence
Wright has been convicted on two counts of food contamination and three counts of blackmail. The 45-year-old had placed three jars of baby food containing shards of metal on the shelves of two branches of the Tesco supermarket.
He then demanded staff pay him to reveal the location of the contaminated food. The third count of blackmail, according to a report in Sky News, relates to Wright demanding more than $190,000 from a driver he was involved in a road rage incident with.
Wright had hoped to get rich from the scheme. Over dozens of letters and emails, the farmer demanded payment of more than $1.8 million for info on the whereabouts of his hidden jars.
He emphasized the seriousness of the situation explaining that some customers would be particularly vulnerable. He reportedly wrote in one correspondence:
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.
Wright used the name “Guy Brush” in some of his letters and emails. On other occasions, he would sign off as a group of farmers angry about the price they’d received for milk from the supermarket.
Two mothers had discovered shards of metal in jars of Heinz baby food whilst feeding their children late last year. Tesco was forced to recall all jars labeled ‘Heinz By Nature 7+ Months’ in December 2019. There was no evidence of additional contamination in the more than 42,000 jars they received.
Bitcoin Still a Bad Choice for Criminals
Wright had presumably requested payment in bitcoin because of its supposed anonymity. However, as BeInCrypto has reported previously, law enforcement has managed to link individuals to bitcoin addresses on multiple occasions.
Officers investigating the contamination and blackmail plot sent around $130,000 to the bitcoin addresses used in Wright’s letters and emails. This was recovered from Wright’s family home, along with photos of the contaminated jars of the product.
Wright admitted to planting one of the jars in which metal was found but denied knowledge of the second. He claimed in court that he was coerced into contaminating the food by travelers who had threatened to rape his wife and murder his children.
Wright’s sentencing is due to take place on September 28. Ahead of the date, the judge has requested a psychiatric report to be prepared, stating:
(Wright) has or appears to be mentally disordered.