Police ‘taste test’ on food laced with pills

chch-court-roomA detective constable conducted a blind taste test on pork stir fry laced with the drug Phenergan as part of the preparations for the case against murder accused Helen Elizabeth Milner.

The Crown alleges that the 50-year-old put the anti-allergy and sedative medication into the food of her 47-year-old husband Philip James Nisbet and then smothered him while he was sedated.

Milner denies two charges of attempted murder of Mr Nisbet in April 2009, and his murder the following month, at a three-week trial before Justice David Gendall and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch.

The Crown is coming towards the end of presentation of its case, which involved evidence from more than 70 witnesses, with the trial in its eighth day.

Detective Constable James Francis Moyle said said that in August 2012 he went to the ESR scientific laboratory in Creyke Road for a blind taste test involving three plates of pork stir fry that contained no Phenergan, 25 pills, and 50 pills.

He found one sample had no unusual taste, and another had a slightly bitter taste but “not so bitter that you would not eat it”. The other sample was very bitter, and very niceable, and “you would not eat that”.

He spat the food out after tasting it and washed his mouth with water. His mouth was numb for three to four hours afterwards.

He also crushed up pills, mixed them with water and then poured them into the food. After it was mixed with the food there was no visible blue colour to the food, he said.

The trial is continuing, with further crown evidence including a witness to be heard by video-link tomorrow.

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