Worker tricks his boss into eating Viagra-laced sweets in 'terrible April Fools joke'
Published 26/08/2016 | 08:23
A worker worker tricked his boss into eating a sweet laced with Viagra in a "terrible April Fools joke which went wrong in a big way", a judge said.
Benjamin Chope (24) presented the jelly sweets to Daniel Webber, his manager at Home Bargains in Newton Abbot, Devon, on April 1.
Exeter Crown Court heard Mr Webber tried one of the sweets and had to be taken to hospital after feeling "significantly unwell" 15 minutes later.
Chope was summoned and confessed he had laced eight sweets with 30 Viagra tablets before offering them to managers as a practical joke.
He later admitted a charge of unlawfully and maliciously administering a poison or noxious substance, namely Sildenafil, to Mr Webber.
Mr Recorder Philip Mott sentenced Chope, of Newton Abbot, to 80 hours of unpaid work and a 12-month community order.
"Benjamin Chope, what a fool and what a terrible April Fools joke which went wrong in a big way," the judge said.
"Poor Mr Webber had to go to hospital and, as you may now imagine, was very frightened indeed.
"You are at the age of 24, have no previous convictions, you have got positive references, you have lost your job, you have lost the next job.
"That's punishment for you."
The judge said Chope did not have the means to pay compensation to Mr Webber but would do community service instead.
"You will just be a little older and somewhat wiser at the end of it all," he added.
Prosecuting, Caroline Bolt said Chope and Mr Webber had both worked at the Home Bargains store for three-and-a-half years.
"They appeared to get on perfectly well," she said.
"On April 1 the defendant arrived for work with some jelly sweets which he said were for the managers to try."
Chope twice asked Mr Webber if he had sampled the sweets, suggesting that another manager should also eat one.
Mr Webber tried one of the sweets, described as "quite large", at about 2pm and noticed it tasted odd, the court heard.
"About 15 minutes later he began to feel significantly unwell," Ms Bolt said.
Staff informed Mr Webber that Chope had put Viagra in the sweets as a joke and the worker admitted it when questioned.
Mr Webber was taken to the minor injuries unit at Torbay Hospital, where he remained for 10 hours and underwent two blood tests.
"The defendant subsequently told some friends that he had put about 30 tablets which he had obtained from the internet into the sweets," Ms Bolt added.
"He said he didn't mean to hurt him, it was an April Fools joke. Subsequently the sweets were tested and found to contain Viagra."
Chope was interviewed by police and admitted he had laced eight sweets with the 30 tablets of Viagra.
"He hadn't intended to target Mr Webber but thought it would be funny to give the managers erections," Ms Bolt said.
"Mr Webber said he was very upset, he thought he got on well with the defendant and thought he could trust him - it was a real blow."
Representing Chope, Anne Bellchambers said he had lost his job at Home Bargains and a subsequent job after his first court appearance.
"He has apologised throughout," Ms Bellchambers said.
"It is clear that he apologised to Mr Webber when he was summoned on the day. He apologised again in interview, he does so again through me today.
"It was never maliciously intended, he got caught up in what he thought would be funny."