Chef and manager jailed over pub Christmas dinner death

23 January 2015 by
Chef and manager jailed over pub Christmas dinner death

A pub manager and chef have both been jailed for perverting the course of justice following the death of a diner at the Railway hotel in Hornchurch in east London on Christmas Day in 2012.

Della Callagher, 46, died two days after she got food poisoning from a Christmas dinner at the pub. Thirty other people fell ill.

Chef Mehmet Kaya and manager Ann-Marie McSweeney were jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for 12 and 18 months respectively, according to the BBC.

Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the Ember Inns brand under which the pub operates, was fined £1.5m for placing unsafe food on the market.

Clostridium perfringens bacterium, a common cause of food poisoning, was found in samples taken from the affected diners.

The verdicts follow a November hearing in which Mitchells and Butlers was found guilty of serving unsafe food and Sweeney, 40, and Kaya, 37, were found guilty of perverting the course of justice for falsifying food safety records after the outbreak. The pair were found not guilty of placing unsafe food on the market.

They had disposed of all the waste food, preventing health inspectors from taking samples, and forged kitchen records after the outbreak, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

In a statement issued in November, a spokesperson for Birmingham-based Mitchells & Butlers said: "Mitchells & Butlers respects the court's decision.

"We have taken this matter extremely seriously, and have co-operated fully with the local authority throughout their investigations. Food safety is our highest priority and our employees are required to adhere to these stringent procedures at all times.

"Our thoughts remain with the Callagher family during this difficult time."

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