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Kitchen porter found not guilty of poisoning soup

A kitchen porter at a top British public school was acquitted yesterday of attempting to poison the pupils' soup.

Maxwell Cook (pictured right) was accused of pouring a bleach-like cleaning product into a soup pot at Stowe School.

But after two and a half hours of deliberations, a jury found him not guilty of attempting to administer poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

Mr Cook (58) slumped back in his seat with a look of relief as the verdict was read out.

During the two-and-a-half-day trial at Aylesbury Crown Court in Buckinghamshire, trainee chef Louise Samples told the jury she had seen Cook in the kitchen lacing the soup with a sanitising destainer on March 11 of last year.

But the presence of the cleaning product in the carrot and coriander soup was detected during a routine tasting and no one at the school was injured.

Mr Cook was dismissed from his job at the prestigious school after the incident.

The school said Mr Cook was left go for "gross misconduct" after it had carried out its own internal probe into the incident. And it dismissed the prospect of him being re-hired in the wake of yesterday's verdict.

Irish Independent