A woman accused of spiking strawberries with sewing needles was motivated by "spite or revenge" over a workplace grievance, prosecutors in Australia say. My Ut Trinh, 50, was arrested Sunday after what police described as a "complex investigation" that began in September, the BBC reports. At a court hearing in Brisbane on Monday, Trinh, who worked as a supervisor at a strawberry farm north of the Queensland city, was denied bail and remanded into custody until Nov. 22, the West Australian reports. She faces seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss and could get a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Authorities say her DNA was discovered on some of the contaminated strawberries.
After a man was taken to the hospital in Queensland suffering abdominal pains, the case sparked a nationwide scare that led to strawberries being stripped from supermarket shelves across Australia. Police said some 230 cases were reported, involving 68 strawberry brands, though many of the needles are believed to have been planted by copycats. Growers, including the Berrylicious firm Trinh worked for, suffered huge financial losses. Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to "throw the book" at the culprit. "It's not funny, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children," he said. "And you are a coward and a grub." (Officials urged consumers to "#SmashAStrawb.")