Nurse who poisoned sister’s artichokes slams decision to prosecute her over feud

A nurse who poisoned her sister’s artichokes has slammed the costly decision to prosecute her over a book she wrote justifying her actions.

Grandmother Gillian Leeden, 66, who was found not guilty on the orders of a judge, is furious that the Crown Prosecution Service spent £30,000 on a failed trial.

She said: “The whole case has been a joke. I am on legal aid. It costs thousands and thousands to run a crown court.

“It was a complete waste of public money. I am a nurse and that money could have been spent on the NHS.

“They could have taken me to county court if they didn’t like what I had written.”

Gillian was previously convicted of ­criminal damage after she was caught on CCTV pouring weed killer over her sister Lyndsey Glassett’s veg.

She had become estranged from sisters Deborah Lemay, 68, and Lyndsey, 72, after a row over the care their elderly mother was receiving.

Gillian, of Broxbourne, Herts, wrote a 213-page book, Behind the Artichokes, alleging her sisters had stolen from their mum. She was then ­prosecuted under the ­Malicious Communications Act.

Last Tuesday Judge Stephen Warner repeatedly asked ­prosecutors to consider dropping the case at St Albans crown court.

He said: “Is a criminal trial the ­appropriate forum for this sort of issue? This is ­essentially a family dispute. I would have thought civil courts would resolve the matter.”

He directed the jury to find Gillian not guilty, saying: “There is evidence that information [in the book] was false but there has to be evidence she knew or believed it was false. I have come to a conclusion there is not enough evidence.”

The trial, at an estimated cost of at least £5,000 a day, collapsed after six days.

Speaking home in Norfolk yesterday Deborah said: “The result means she won’t get the treatment she obviously deserves. There is no chance of reconciliation. What she accused us of was absolute fiction.”

The CPS justified the trial, saying “there was sufficient evidence to prosecute” and “it was in the public interest to do so.”

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