Controversy and confusion have been stirring in Gijón, Spain, as an assistant chef at the traditional Asturian cider house El Lavaderu has been detained for poisoning his coworkers. The Telegraph is reporting that the employee, who had worked at the cider house for seven years, is being charged with fourteen counts of attempted murder. The 55-year old suspect, who struggled with alcoholism, had allegedly been introducing calcium cyanamide into the staff meals of restaurant employees for over a year. Calcium cyanamide, which is used to treat alcoholism, can "provoke nausea, dizziness and palpitations if mixed with alcohol and can have fatal results if taken long-term."
Some reports, like the Telegraph's, have indicated that the suspect was poisoning food, but the current manager of the establishment has reached out to outlet Europa Press to clarify that the suspect was contaminating his colleague's drinks. The current manager, Juan Luis Alfonso Alonso, says he was the first to bring the matter to the attention of the authorities in October of last year. Alonso also claims that the death of an employee at the restaurant in May of 2011 should not be coupled into this case, a fact that has been included in several articles on the poisonings.
The owner of El Lavaderu, Florentino Pérez, says he himself suffered from the poisonings but never imagined the suspect was the responsible party. "People loved him," said Pérez of the man, who had also been involved in several community and non-profit efforts. Peréz says he has known him for many years. The suspect was fired a month before he was arrested, but that, according to Pérez, was due to a decline in business.
· El Dueño de El Lavaderu: El Cocinero Tenía Ina Psicopatía [Europa Press]
· El Regente del 'Lavaderu' de Gijón Aclara [Europa Press]
· Spanish Chef Accused Trying to Poison [Telegraph]
· All Crime Coverage on Eater [-E-]