A kindergarten teacher who poisoned 25 children, one of them fatally, following an argument with a rival staff member has been sentenced to death by a court in China.

In a court ruling on Monday, the Jiaozuo Intermediate People's Court in China's Henan province announced the death penalty for Wang Yun, a teacher at the local Mengmeng Kindergarten, describing her actions as "despicable and vicious."

Revenge Over Quarrel With Colleague

Mengmeng kindergarten poisoning
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A day before the poisoning, which took place in March last year, Wang had an argument with a fellow teacher about student management issues and decided to lace the morning porridge of the teacher's students the following day with sodium nitrate, which she purchased online.

The children were rushed to the hospital as soon as the children started vomiting and fainting not long after eating their breakfast. At the time, one parent told China's state-run tabloid Global Times that he had received a call from the kindergarten saying his child had vomited and fainted.

When he arrived, his child was found in an unconscious state. "The vomit was all over (their) pants. There were other children who were also throwing up, and they looked pale," the father, surnamed Li, said. Another parent surnamed Hu said that his child's stomach had to be flushed.

Sodium nitrate is toxic and a carcinogen that is often found in fertilizers, food preservatives and even in munitions and explosives. It can prove to be fatal if consumed in large amounts, as in the case of one of the poisoned students, who died in January this year after spending 10 months in hospital.

Wang Also Poisoned Her Husband

The court ruling also noted that this was not the first time Wang had poisoned someone, referring to an incident involving her husband. In February 2017, she was caught trying to poison her husband, surnamed Feng after an argument. At the time, she spiked his drink with nitrate, causing minor injuries.

The court noted Ms Wang was "despicable and vicious, and the consequences of her crimes were extremely serious, and she deserves to be severely punished." Wang will be executed by lethal injection or by firing squad.

Kindergarten Poisoning in China

poison
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Schoolchildren in China have been the target of often fatal attacks by people bearing grudges. In 2013, two children died after consuming yoghurt tainted with rat poison by the owner of a rival kindergarten.

In 2002, 42 people, mostly schoolchildren, died after eating snacks laced with rat poison in the eastern city of Nanjing. The killer, who apparently was jealous of his rivals' thriving business, was also swiftly sentenced to death and executed.