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'Cyanide expertise' of murder accused.

A MAN accused of poisoning his lover had easy access to cyanide and used it to kill butterflies for his collection, a court heard yesterday.

The "Death on the Nile" trial has been told John Allan killed wealthy solicitor Cheryl Lewis while they were on holiday in Egypt so he could benefit from her will.

His ex-wife yesterday told the jury of Allan's butterfly "gas chamber".

Jacqueline Millard said the industrial chemist used a cyanide solution to kill insects for his collection.

She said access to cyanide was "frighteningly common" in Allan's profession.

Ms Millard, who divorced Allan 23 years ago, told Liverpool Crown Court: "I associate butterflies with cyanide.

"You have a jar and you put something in the jar that will kill the butterflies very quickly because you don't want them battering about in the jar, damaging themselves, because the butterflies are very beautiful".

She said she would always link the almondy smells of cyanide with butterflies.

Allan, 48, denies killing 43-year-old Cheryl in 1998.

It's claimed her agonising death from cyanide made him the beneficiary of a will he forged, landing him Cheryl's pounds 400,000 fortune.

American tourist Pamela Black was in the same hotel as Allan and Cheryl.

She said he refused to give his stricken lover mouth to mouth.

Ms Black was asked for help by Allan and went to the couple's room.

She said Cheryl was slipping in and out of consciousness, her face ashen-grey, and there was a smell coming from her mouth that filled the room.

Ms Black said: "I guess it smelled like I thought death would smell like. I asked Mr Allan to do mouth to mouth. He refused and said he would rather wait for a doctor.

"Of course, you don't know how people will react if someone's dying. But I thought it was extremely odd he would not assist me."

The trial continues.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 19, 2000
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