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By Richard Smith
A wife pleaded guilty yesterday to poisoning her hubby’s Chinese takeaways in the warped hope of getting him to admit to having an affair.
Linda Lees, 45, hid an “odourless, tasteless” substance in two of Paul’s takeaways. And at a restaurant asked a waiter if she could hide her wedding ring in his food as a surprise – but spiked it instead.
Police said Lees suspected Royal Navy avionics lecturer Paul, 43, of being unfaithful.
But amazingly, she herself was having an affair with neighbour Warren Sibbald – a Navy pal of Paul’s.
Yesterday Lees, of Helston, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to three charges of administering a noxious substance at Truro crown court.
Two incidents relate to Chinese takeaways the couple shared on March 25 and July 20. The third was at a restaurant in Exeter, Devon, in April.
Lees, who runs a car hire firm in Exeter, is thought to have used her own tranquillisers or the date rape drug GHB.
Detective Constable Martin Skinner called the case “bizarre”. He said: “It was a crime of passion. Six months ago he decided the relationship was going to end, she agreed but it was not what she wanted. The drastic action was taken to stupefy him to find out what relationship he was involved in.”
Dc Skinner said Lees, who was on medication for depression, first poisoned Paul at home. Of the restaurant poisoning, he explained: “She stopped the waiter and told him they were trying to patch things up and she wanted to put a ring in his food. But when his back was turned she poisoned it.”
Paul had gone back home to try and fix their 23-year marriage when they ordered a takeaway and Lees struck for the third time.
She then took him for a drive with a bottle of water – also containing poison – to “relive happier times”. By the time they came back to the house he was drowsy.
Lees then fled to Mr Sibbald to confess and later tried to kill herself in her garage. DC Skinner said: “Police found her in the car with a hosepipe attached to the exhaust.”
Her attempt failed because the car had a catalytic convertor, which cut the amount of fumes she inhaled.
Lees made a full confession and said she “knew it was wrong but could not stop it”.
Terry Eastwood, defending, said there would be a delay in sentencing while a psychological report was completed.
The Lees’ daughter Hannah, 21, was at the hearing, where Lees was granted bail to reappear on October 7.
Police say Mr Sibbald played no role in the poisonings and it was him who alerted them. DC Skinner confirmed Paul was having an affair and that he no longer lived in Cornwall.