In the midst of a heated dispute over the inheritance of their family home, Robert McCabe, a 69-year-old man, resorted to a malicious act by adding laxatives to his sister Sharon’s milk, as reported by The Manchester Evening News.
The disagreement stemmed from their mother’s passing, after which McCabe became the owner of the Heywood house where they all lived.
The family conflict escalated when another brother, Dennis, who had been funding the mortgage from Australia, expressed in his will that Sharon’s son should inherit the house. This decision sparked tensions among the siblings. In response, McCabe put laxatives in his sister’s milk on multiple occasions over a two-week period.
Sharon, who suffers from pancreatitis, experienced stomach pains and was hospitalized in April 2020. Suspicions arose when she noticed a chemical smell in a four-pint bottle of milk she purchased. Concerned, she and her son set up a camera in the kitchen, capturing footage of McCabe tampering with the milk by holding a white piece of paper over it and tipping something in. Daniel Lister, prosecuting, said:
“She reported her concerns to her son who informed the police. Then on April 21, 2020, the victim and her son set up a camera in the kitchen, which covered half of anyone who was standing by the fridge.
This showed Robert and Desmond looking at the milk and shaking it. The footage also captured this defendant holding a piece of white paper over an open bottle of milk and tipping something into the milk. We now know that was a laxative.”
In a statement, Sharon said:
“I was shocked and saddened that he could be so malicious and vindictive towards me. I’ve been through hell over the last three-and-a-half years thinking about what he did to me. I genuinely believe that he will do anything to get me to leave my family home of 41 years, and I no longer have contact with my siblings. I feel like I am being punished by them.”
McCabe pleaded guilty to maliciously administering a noxious substance to annoy, injure, or aggrieve, under the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861.
Despite having no prior convictions, McCabe was sentenced to an 18-month community order. Additionally, he was mandated to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity requirements. The judge, Maurice Greene, highlighted the rarity of such cases in court, emphasising that a man of McCabe’s age should not be engaged in such destructive sibling rivalry.