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Medic backs 'Millionaire' cougher

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LONDON, England -- A man accused of coughing to help win the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" main prize does suffer from allergies and asthma, a medical expert has told a court.

Professor Alan Morris said Tecwen Whittock suffers from hayfever, a dust allergy and asthma, giving him a "convincing" explanation for his coughing during filming of the UK version of the quiz.

The prosecution allege Whittock used a "cough code" to provide his accomplice with the correct answers in the show which provides four alternative answers to each question.

Whittock, Major Charles Ingram -- who was answering the questions -- and Ingram's wife Diana all deny cheating their way to the million pound prize.

They are charged with "procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception" on September 10, 2001.

Morris, who gave evidence as a medical expert, told London's Southwark Crown Court: "He (Whittock) had a very convincing story to me of someone who provides a cogent history of what an allergic type person complains of.

"It is entirely compatible with medical evidence that he would have a chronic cough."

Whittock insisted that on the day of the alleged cheating, when he was one of the "Fastest Finger First" contestants and Ingram was answering his way to the 1 million top prize, his throat problem had become aggressively worse.

The Crown alleges Whittock used a total of 19 strategic coughs to let the Royal Engineers officer know which of the four possible answers was the correct one.

Under cross-examination Whittock, a college lecturer, agreed that he had appeared on a previous "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" in April 2001, just a few days after Mrs. Ingram had won 32,000 on the show.

But he denied suggestions that he had tried to get on the same show as her.

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