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27 May 2016, 17:25
A woman who poisoned water bottles at a carehome in West Brom has been jailed for life.
Former special constable Melissa Swift, who's 24, and from West Brom put bleach and eye drops in water at the Goldfield Court care home.
She was arrested on 4 August 2014 after police were told that several people, including residents and staff, at the West Bromwich home had been taken ill with food poisoning type symptoms.
Swift, who had been previously based at Sandwell Police as a volunteer officer, was subsequently charged with three counts of attempted murder, two counts of administering poison, two counts of threats to kill, theft of a drug and possession of a controlled drug.
She initially admitted wanting to harm her colleagues and finally entered guilty pleas to three counts of attempted murder against co-workers and two counts of threats to kill against a co-worker and her sister when she appeared before court on 17 February 2015.
Detective Chief Inspector Michaela Kerr, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, led the investigation into Swift’s poisonous actions. She said: "Melissa deceived her colleagues and hatched a plan to cause ill to those she worked with as a result of some malice, for which we have never truly discovered the cause.
"She not only thought out a way of poisoning her work mates but also followed the plan through and administered bleach to their drinks, leaving them in the usual staff fridge where she knew they would go.
"The plan was dangerous, reckless and hugely alarming. There is nothing to have stopped anyone from consuming the drinks she tampered with and, given the nature of her profession and workplace as a care provider, she went against everything her dedicated colleagues worked for.
"Today’s sentence reflects the severity of her actions. Thankfully no one was seriously injured as a result of what she did, but the story could so easily have been different.
"Hopefully, today’s result gives those who were affected by Melissa’s actions some closure and they are able to move on with their lives."