‘Poison’ soup porter not guilty
A kitchen porter at a £27,000-per-year public school was acquitted yesterday of trying to poison pupils by lacing their soup with cleaning fluid.
Maxwell Cook (58) was accused of pouring drain cleaner into soup that was destined for 100 pupils and staff at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire.
But he was found not guilty at Aylesbury Crown Court of attempting to administer poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.
According to prosecutors, the substance would have had a “detrimental effect” if eaten, including vomiting and swelling of the throat. Mr Cook, from Syresham, Northamptonshire, was suspended from his post after the contaminated food was discovered on March11 last year, and will not get his job back.
A spokeswoman for the school said: “We undertook a full investigation and Maxwell Cook was dismissed for gross misconduct. The school has no intention of re-employing him.”
Trainee chef Louise Samples told the court that she saw Mr Cook pour cleaning fluid into the soup, but did not feel comfortable enough to say anything. Mr Cook maintained he had walked past the soup but had only looked at it.
The fluid was detected during routine tasting and nobody was hurt.