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November 28, 2013

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Accused says fatal poisoning was just a joke

A FUDAN University student on trial for allegedly killing his roommate by poisoning him said yesterday it was just “an April Fool’s joke.”

Lin Senhao, 27, admitted the poisoning and said he would accept any punishment but denied holding a grudge against Huang Yang, though he thought he was haughty, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court heard.

Prosecutors said Lin, a postgraduate medical student, stole N-Nitrosodimethylamine, a highly toxic chemical, from a lab at Zhongshan Hospital and dropped around 50 milliliters into a water dispenser they shared in their dormitory room on March 31.

Lin was then interning at the hospital, which is affiliated to Fudan.

Huang felt sick after drinking from the dispenser on the morning of April 1 and died in Zhongshan Hospital 15 days later, the court heard.

Lin told the court he had only planned to make Huang feel sick because Huang had talked about fooling others.

He claimed the poisoning was a spur-of-the-moment act after hearing Huang’s talk about April 1 being a day of pranks.

“April Fool’s was coming, and Huang Yang said he planned to play tricks on others, so I thought, fine, I will give you one first,” Lin told the court. “I heard Huang drinking water from the dispenser. He took a mouthful of water and spat it out,” Lin said.

“I pretended to be asleep because I was afraid he would ask me about the water.”

Lin said Huang vomited and then took the water barrel to the washroom. When Huang came back, Lin said he got up, pretended to make a phone call and left the room. When he returned, he saw Huang asleep in bed. Lin didn’t talk to Huang as, he said, he was scared.

On April 2, Huang felt more uncomfortable and went to hospital. Lin helped Huang do a check on his stomach and lungs and told him everything was fine, the court heard.

On April 3, Huang was admitted to hospital where he told doctors that the water had tasted weird.

Lin told the court that he found out that fellow students had decided to test the water and he washed the dispenser and barrel that night, hoping to remove traces of the chemical.

Prosecutors said Lin had intended to kill Huang because he kept silent even as he watched Huang’s condition deteriorate.

Lin said he never thought Huang would die because he only drank a little of the water. He said he thought Huang would recover because he had experimented with the chemical on rats and many had survived.

Prosecutors said Lin should have known the amount of chemical he had used in his experiments on rats could be fatal and said his motivation was that he had a grudge against Huang over trivial matters and out of jealousy.

Lin was detained on April 12 after fellow students reported him to the police.

“I was reckless and I have nothing to defend,” Lin told the court. “I am sorry to Huang’s family and I am sorry to my parents.”

The court will give its verdict at a later date.

Huang’s father, Huang Guoqiang, told Shanghai Daily he wanted Lin sentenced to death — “a life for a life.”



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