Man who poisoned colleagues with mercury-laced sandwiches sentenced to life in prison

Judge says substance found in defendant’s home ‘more dangerous than all combat agents used in World War Two’

Man who poisoned colleagues with mercury-laced sandwiches sentenced to life in prison

A German man has been sentenced to life behind bars after poisoning his co-workers’ sandwiches, leaving one in a coma and two others with serious kidney damage.

The 57-year-old man, identified only as Klaus O because of German privacy rules, was caught on CCTV putting a suspicious powder on a colleague’s sandwich at a business in the city of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock.

When authorities searched his home, they found a primitive chemistry laboratory in the basement and a substance that Judge Georg Zimmermann described as “more dangerous than all combat agents used in World War Two”.

Two of the defendants’ colleagues, a 27-year-old man and 67-year-old man, suffered chronic kidney damage from poisoning with lead and cadmium. Both men face a heightened risk of cancer.

A 23-year-old trainee fell into a coma after ingesting mercury and now has permanent brain damage.

The defendant refused to speak during his trial and his motives remain unclear – but prosecutors believe he wanted to see his colleagues’ physical decline.

The judge said the court considered the crimes to be as serious as homicide, according to German news agency dpa.

He found the defendant guilty of attempted murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

The judge also ordered that he should remain in prison after completing the life sentence, which in Germany typically means serving 15 years, because he remains a danger to the public.

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