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Porter denies public school poison bid

A man today denied trying to poison pupils at a top public school, a court official said.

Maxwell Cook, a kitchen porter at Stowe School, was arrested in March after carrot and coriander soup due to be served to students was found to be laced with a poisonous cleaning product.

Police said the sanitising destainer was added to soup prepared for service at the £27,000-a-year school on March 11.

At the time the school said the substance was noticed during routine tasting and none of the pupils or staff were hurt.

Cook, 57, from Syresham, Brackley, Northamptonshire, today denied attempting to administer poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy, at Aylesbury Crown Court, an official said.

The spokesman said the case was adjourned to November 8 for a hearing to set a trial date.

Cook, who had worked at the school since January 2007 but has now been suspended, was granted bail until the next hearing.

Past pupils at Stowe School include business tycoon Sir Richard Branson, journalist Sir Peregrine Worsthorne and jazz great George Melly.