Toilet Water Worker Escapes Jail Term

A Hampshire designer who filled his manager's water bottle up with water from the toilet after she criticised his work has escaped a jail sentence.

Jonathan Oliver, 40, of Haslar Crescent in Waterlooville pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to administering a poison or a noxious substance with intent.

CPS prosecutor Dan Sawyer said that the court heard that Oliver, who creates designs for gravestones, had snapped when his boss Annabelle Ryan had criticised his work.

He then filled her sports-style drinking bottle up with water from the toilet.

Mr Sawyer said:

''She swallowed the liquid and realised something was wrong. She could smell a chemical which a colleague described as turps.

''She threw away the water but police examined the bottle and traced the chemical to Mr Oliver.''

The chemical found on the bottle turned out to be a substance called Magic Dark which Oliver used for his work and was in his cup which he had used to fill the bottle.

The court heard that if she had drunk more of the liquid she could have become seriously ill.

Oliver, who had been suffering from depression, no longer works at Town and Country Memorials in Wickham where the incident happened, the court was told.

Adrian Fleming, defending, said that Oliver had reacted to difficulties at work in ''an entirely inappropriate fashion''.

He was sentenced on January 12 to four months in prison suspended for a year and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £250 in compensation to Mrs Ryan and £425 in court costs.