A dental nurse broke down in tears today as she denied trying to poison her boss.
Ravinder Kaur, 34, is charged with administering a poison or noxious substance with intent after she allegedly put mercury amalgam - a substance used in dental fillings - into a cup of coffee she made for practice manager Laura Knowles.
She is said to have committed the offence at Shams Moopen Dental Practice in Shefford, Bedfordshire, out of “spite or revenge” after receiving warnings about her poor performance at work.
Today, she told a jury of eight men and four women at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court that she could not speculate who was responsible but she had not sabotaged Ms Knowles’s coffee.
Breaking down in tears, she recalled being summoned to the office on March 16 last year by her bosses hours after the incident.
“I was just so shocked - this is affecting my whole life, my liberty is at stake,” she said.
“They presented the allegation saying I had put mercury in Laura’s coffee this morning.
“They said they wanted to take legal proceedings against me.”
The defendant, of Ettrick Drive, Bedford, said she had been “stressed and under a lot of pressure” while being on paid suspension for the last year.
“I’ve done nothing wrong at all,” she said.
Ms Knowles experienced stomach cramps after drinking the contaminated coffee but did not suffer any long-term damage.
After offering to make a brew, Kaur returned from the staff room 15 minutes later, apologising for how long it had taken, the court has heard.
After drinking a little of her coffee, Ms Knowles thought it did not taste right and feared Kaur had spat in it.
She poured the drink down the sink, where she spotted a grey sludge which “looked like mercury”, the jurors have been told.
Feeling unwell, Ms Knowles went to hospital where an X-ray revealed metal speckles in her intestine.
A swab taken from the sink showed up a substance used to make fillings, the Crown allege.