Hungarian farmer who poisoned wine wanted to 'teach them a lesson'

  • 12/11/2015

A Hungarian farmer, who admitted putting antifreeze in his wine to poison thieves two years ago, was handed a seven-year jail term for manslaughter after one man died and several were hospitalised.

The 39-year-old defendant had told the Budapest District Court that people regularly stole from his cellar in the town of Vacszentlaszlo, 50 kilometres east of the capital.

In response, he contaminated the barrels in October 2013 to "teach them a lesson".

The farmer denied intending to kill anyone, however, saying he only wanted to make the thieves ill.

The court heard that a 30-year-old man took several jugs of wine from the barrels, later sharing them with acquaintances.

The man was taken to hospital a few days later with suspected poisoning and died soon after. Five others were also treated in hospital for poisoning although all survived.

"I only wanted them to feel sick and get diarrhoea," said the farmer during the trial, which began last April.

"If I'd wanted a bigger problem, I would have used herbicide or fungicide," he added.

On delivering the sentence, the judge said the man must serve at least four and a half years of the jail term.