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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 15:07 GMT
Poisoner employed as ethics tutor
Paul Agutter was jailed in 1995
Paul Agutter was jailed in 1995
A university is checking how it came to employ a man who served seven years in prison for poisoning his wife - as a medical ethics teacher.

Paul Agutter, 57, a former biochemistry lecturer from East Lothian, was freed in 2002 after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for attempted murder.

He is teaching continuing education courses to mature students at the University of Manchester.

The university said it was "checking the circumstances of his recruitment".

According to the university, Paul Agutter was employed to teach two hours per week on an adult education course between October and December last year.

He also co-presented an introductory course in January entitled "therapeutic cloning: ethics and science".

Further investigations

This was billed as "an introduction to new and projected medical developments in reproductive cloning as explained by a biologist and a philosopher".

Another course which carries Paul Agutter's name is "the evolution of evolutionary ideas", due to start in May and run for six weeks.

It is described as "a review of the scientific development of evolutionary theory since about 1800 in relation to social, political and other cultural changes".

Manchester said: "Like all other courses in this brochure, it is not known at this stage whether this course will go ahead.

"This decision will depend on the number of enrolments that we receive for the course and further investigations by the university to ascertain whether Dr Agutter's appointment as a part-time tutor was in accordance with the university's employment policies and procedures."

Drinks spiked

Agutter, from Athelstaneford, East Lothian, was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1995.

He had put atropine in his wife's gin and tonic drinks and tried to cover his tracks by putting bottles of tonic injected with the poison on shelves in a supermarket - where he was caught on security cameras.

He had sought to murder his wife and marry his then lover, a mature student at Edinburgh's Napier University.

Eight people took ill after drinking the contaminated tonic.

He is reported to have left Scotland after his release from Glenochil prison and moved to Derbyshire.

Poisoner banned from family home
14 Jun 02  |  Scotland

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