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Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 19:57 GMT
Vodka poisoned in 'terror plot'
Councillor John Wright
A package addressed Councillor John Wright was intercepted
An Englishman sent poisoned vodka bottles to public figures in a terrorist plot to force Scottish independence, a court heard.

Wayne Cook, 45, also threatened to kill English people by poisoning the water supply, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mr Cook, of Tyldesley, Manchester, denies two counts of using noxious substances to cause harm.

He is accused of sending vodka bottles filled with caustic soda to a Scottish journalist and a Lancashire councillor.

The court heard he allegedly sent the miniature bottles to Blackburn with Darwen councillor John Wright and journalist Myra Philp in April 2007 as part of a campaign by the Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA).

Paul Taylor, for the prosecution, told the court that the caustic soda could have killed the recipients if they had drunk it.

'Mass murder threat'

The bottle sent to Councillor Wright was intercepted by sorting office staff.

The package to Ms Philp, a Scottish Daily Express journalist, was accompanied by a letter which read: "This bottle is full of lethal caustic soda.

"A very large number of similarly poisoned items have just been sent to political figures all over England."

It went on to say "we want to demonstrate our intent to kill English people at random and with no discrimination or compunction".

"This is necessary to convince the British Government that we will lethally poison England's water supplies, if they do not withdraw totally from Scotland."

It was signed "SNLA" - standing for Scottish National Liberation Army.

Mr Taylor told the court that Ms Philp had been targeted by the SNLA before and was helping police with an inquiry into their activities.

'Disfigured'

He said: "They are a terrorist organisation.

"The objective was to be achieved not by democratic means but by threats of mass murder.

"The idea of swallowing caustic soda doesn't bear thinking about - it would be like swallowing a very strong bleach.

"As well as posing a danger to Mr Wright and Ms Philp, the miniature vodka bottles could easily have been damaged in transit and anyone whose skin came into contact with the liquid, the caustic soda, could have been burned, perhaps even disfigured."

Greater Manchester Police began an investigation into the packages which had postmarks from the Bolton, Bury and Wigan area.

The court heard the bottle sent to Councillor Wright, who had recently won an election, had a note which read: "Dear John, congratulations on a Labour victory. Have a drink on me, Tom."

Another man, Steven Robinson, who lived at the same block of flats as Mr Cook on Roberts Road, pleaded guilty to the same charges at an earlier hearing.

The prosecution alleges that the two men together hatched the plot to send the bottles and then carried it out.

The case continues.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Wayne Cook also allegedly sent threatening letters



SEE ALSO
Man charged over suspect packages
20 May 07 |  Manchester

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