Man sues pub firm after wife died of food poisoning
A grieving husband is suing a pub company after he watched his wife die from food poisoning she got from a roast dinner.
Distraught Nigel Morgan, 66, watched his wife Christine, 71, fall ill after a family meal to celebrate news of their granddaughter’s pregnancy.
They headed to the Clock & Key public house in Truro after seeing a board advertising a “pensioners lunch” which included a set-price meal and dessert.
But soon after eating the roast lamb Christine, who moved from Kirknewton in West Lothian to Cornwall, started vomiting and was rushed to hospital, where she died the following evening.
Her death was recorded as “aspiration of vomit” following severe episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting, with food poisoning being the underlying cause.
Grandfather-of-seven Mr Morgan, of Redruth, Cornwall, said he suggested they go for the meal at Trispen, Truro, after feeling peckish on August 11, 2015.
But soon after tucking into her roast lamb, Mrs Morgan began to feel unwell. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was pronounced dead the following day.
Mr Morgan, who spent 24 years in the army, was speaking after those responsible for the hygiene breaches that led to his wife’s death were fined by a court.
He said: “I still remember, vividly, her sitting on the toilet and telling me that all she wanted to do was go to sleep.
“This was after over 35 hours of vomiting and diarrhoea.
“We all miss her terribly, and hope and plead that no one else who dines at the Clock and Key in Trispen have the same catastrophic outcome.
“In fact, they must not.”
On Monday Diane Burrow, 56, from Crosstown near Bude, who had managed the pub’s kitchen, and Lake Inns & Leisure Limited, a company owned by Nicholas Lake, which owns the pub along with a number of others, were fined after pleading guilty to two counts of serving unfit food.
Sitting at Truro Crown Court, Judge Simon Carr said investigations by Cornwall Council showed that there was no doubt that the food poisoning had been caused by the lamb.
He added the process of cooking and storing the meat was not carried out correctly and the re-heating of the roast lamb by another employee was inadequate.
Speaking for the first time about the incident, Mr Morgan said: “We went out that day to get some Boddington’s jam.
“We went up there, got the jam, went to Mevagissey, and got word that my granddaughter was pregnant. Christine was thrilled about that.
“On our way back, I decided that I was hungry and needed something to eat so we stopped and went for the pensioner’s meal. We had that, came home and that night she became ill.
“She was ill the next day, I asked her to see the doctor but she wouldn’t so in the end I rang the doctor and told him that she had this vomiting and diarrhoea and he said it was probably a touch of food poisoning. “I went into the bathroom and I said, ‘Are you alright, sweetheart?’ And she said, ‘All I want is to go to sleep’.
“And with that she sort of slumped over.”
Burrow was fined £750 and Lake Inns & Leisure Limited was fined £20,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £23,896.09.
Speaking after the case Mr Morgan said the family, including their four children believe the punishment was too lenient - and he plans to take civil action.
He said: “The children are upset because they think that the company, owners, whoever, got away very lightly.
“I explained to them that the lady who was charged - Mrs Burrows - didn’t.
“And I feel sorry for her because she was just the manageress.
“I’ve explained that to the children as best I can and they said so who’s getting punished for mum’s death?
“And that’s difficult to say really - the company have got a £43k fine they’ve gotta pay but that will be out the profits.
“We are taking civil action against the company - I don’t want to say more than that really because we don’t know what’s going to occur or the outcome and I don’t want to mess our chances up.”
Mr Morgan said his family have lost “a wife, a grandmother, a sister and a friend and confidant”.
He added: “I’ve had counselling and that’s helped tremendously especially early on and still feel that if we hadn’t moved back down to Cornwall - which was both of our ambitions - from Scotland that she could still be alive.
“But I’m told she could’ve got food poisoning up there just as easily and may have died.”