A FED-UP employee snapped when his boss criticised his work and filled her drinking bottle up with water from the toilet.
Jonathan Oliver, 40, was unhappy with his job at Town and Country Memorials, where he worked on designs for gravestones.
And after his manager Annabelle Ryan criticised his artwork for a headstone, Oliver waited until she left her desk and filled her drinking bottle up with water from the toilet.
He was caught because he used a cup that had previously contained a chemical liquid, called Magic Dark, which he used in his work, to fill up the bottle.
As soon as Mrs Ryan took a swig of her drink she could smell and taste the chemical, and spat the liquid out.
When he was arrested Oliver, of Haslar Crescent, Waterlooville, who was described in court as a loner with a dark side, asked police: ‘Is Annabelle okay? It’s one of those things that just got out of hand.’
He pleaded guilty to administering a poison or noxious substance with intent.
Adrian Fleming, defending, said he had been suffering from depression at the time.
‘It was an extremely unpleasant act, there can be no getting away from that,’ Mr Fleming said.
‘He accepts that this was a quite unacceptable way to deal with a problem at work.
‘Clearly he reacted to difficulties at work in an entirely inappropriate fashion.
‘He has learnt his lesson from this.’ Oliver, who has lost his job with the Wickham-based company, was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for a year.
He will have to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 in compensation to Mrs Ryan and £425 in court costs.
Sentencing him at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘You were very unhappy at work. You were almost certainly suffering from depression.
‘You were convinced that others around you were trying to get you out of your job. Had she ingested that chemical in any significant quantity the prospect was that she might have become very sick. Thankfully for you and for her she suffered no physical symptoms.’