Parishioner, 92, died after being poisoned by underdone shepherd's pie

Killed by a shepherd’s pie: Parishioner, 92, was poisoned and 31 others struck down by pub cook’s underdone mincebut he dodges jail after telling court he’s a ‘better chefas a result of the tragedy

  • Elizabeth Neuman, 92, was violently sick after eating the pie at the Crewe Arms
  • She was taken to hospital but suffered an internal haemorrhage and later died
  • John Croucher, former head chef, admitted contravening food regulations
  • He was given a four-month suspended jail sentence at Reading Crown Court
  • Pub landlord Neil Billingham was fined £9,000 plus £1,000 court costs
  • A parishioner died and 31 others fell seriously ill after they were struck down with food poisoning at a harvest supper.

    Elizabeth Neuman, 92, was violently sick after eating the contaminated shepherd’s pie served at a village pub near her church.

    She was taken to hospital but suffered an internal haemorrhage and could not be saved.

    Just three of the 35 villagers who sat down to the meal escaped being poisoned – because they went for the vegetarian option.

    John Croucher (nella foto), the former head chef of the Crewe Arms in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, admitted contravening food regulations and was given a four-month suspended jail sentence at Reading Crown Court

    John Croucher (nella foto), the former head chef of the Crewe Arms in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, admitted contravening food regulations and was given a four-month suspended jail sentence at Reading Crown Court

    Elizabeth Neuman, 92, was violently sick after eating the contaminated shepherd’s pie served at the Crewe Arms (nella foto) in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, near her church. She was taken to hospital but suffered an internal haemorrhage and could not be saved.

    Elizabeth Neuman, 92, was violently sick after eating the contaminated shepherd’s pie served at the Crewe Arms (nella foto) in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, near her church. She was taken to hospital but suffered an internal haemorrhage and could not be saved.

    A court heard how the party from the Holy Trinity Church had gone to the pub for the meal on October 8, 2018.

    But the meat from the shepherd’s pie was ‘not cooked properly’ the night before by the pub’s then head chef and was placed in a pan of iced water, before being wrapped in cling film and put in a fridge overnight.

    The next day the meat was cooked again and warm potato mash added, but its temperature was not checked before it was served. The court heard how the chef was ‘rushed’ and ‘had to leave’ the night before.

    John Croucher, the former head chef of the Crewe Arms in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, admitted contravening food regulations.

    Egli ha detto: ‘I really hate to say it but I think I was rushed. I was rushing. Remorse is an understatement. This is something I will never forget. Because of it, I am a better chef and it is just a shame the cost of it had to be what it was.’

    Croucher, 40, was given a four-month suspended jail sentence yesterday at Reading Crown Court.

    Pub owner and landlord Neil Billingham, 54, of Northampton, was fined £9,000 plus £1,000 court costs after admitting three charges of contravening food regulations.

    la sua compagnia, The Bobcat Pub Co, was fined nearly £3,000.

    Judge Sarah Campbell said: ‘A healthy and well person died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage induced from vomiting. No sentence I can pass can reflect the loss caused to the family.’

    Lei ha aggiunto: ‘The Crewe Arms is an important pub to the local community. I have read many references from members of the community, who all say Mr Billingham worked hard to maintain the support of the community, including Mrs Neuman’s daughter.’

    The court heard that the pub had a one-star food hygiene rating at the time of the tragedy but had since gained the maximum five stars.

    But the judge did not accept explanations from the pub and chef that the poisoning was a ‘one-off mistake’.

    Lei ha aggiunto: ‘Looking at the evidence, this was not a one-off mistake. The pub should have been taking steps to be improving.

    ‘Inspections in 2015 gave it three stars [for food hygiene] e in 2017 gave it only one star.’

    The meat from the shepherd’s pie was ‘not cooked properly’ the night before by the pub’s then head chef and was placed in a pan of iced water, before being wrapped in cling film and put in a fridge overnight. Nella foto, file di foto

    The meat from the shepherd’s pie was ‘not cooked properly’ the night before by the pub’s then head chef and was placed in a pan of iced water, before being wrapped in cling film and put in a fridge overnight. Nella foto, file di foto

    A court heard how the party from the Holy Trinity Church (nella foto) had gone to the pub for the meal on October 8, 2018

    A court heard how the party from the Holy Trinity Church (nella foto) had gone to the pub for the meal on October 8, 2018

    Prosecutor Carl May-Smith told the court ‘the pub even had the advantage of coaching from the local authority’ – where food safety officers work with venues with poor hygiene ratings, advising them what they need to do to improve.

    ‘Inspections before the offence showed there was no food safety management system in place,' Ha aggiunto.

    It is not known which bacteria struck down the parishioners, or if the meat used in the pie was frozen or fresh.

    Several members of the Holy Trinity congregation were in court for the hearing.

    They did not comment as they left.

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