Former pub manager and chef jailed after fatal food poisoning

Hotel in Hornchurch where food poisoning Christmas 2012 led to death of mother and illness for many others

Railway Hotel, Station Road, Hornchurch. Image: Google Street View.

Former pub manager Ann-Marie McSweeney and chef Mehmet Kaya have been jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for covering up in an inquiry into an outbreak of food poisoning that was followed by the death of a mother and illness for many other diners.

The business chain, Mitchells & Butlers, which owned The Railway Hotel, in Station Road, Hornchurch has been fined £1.5 million.

The firm was convicted of placing unsafe food on the market.

46 year old mother of one, Della Callagher, died two days after eating the four-course Christmas meal in December 2012.

A total of 33 diners had been taken ill.

Havering Council’s year-long investigation found that the food poisoning was caused by ‘clostridium perfringens’ bacteria.

The turkey meat had not been cooked adequately, or not reheated properly.

McSweeney, jailed for 18 months, and Kaya, jailed for a year, hindered the inquiry by making up records for the cooking and cooling of the turkey meat.

Judge Alastair Hammerton also ordered Mitchells and Butlers to pay £227,500 in costs.

He said the company had taken ‘manifestly inadequate steps’ to deal with the risks of preparing the turkey and fell ‘significantly short’ of appropriate standards.

Havering Councillor Osman Dervish and Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said:
Firstly, our condolences go out to the Callagher Family, who have been in court throughout the trial.
We hope that this morning’s result will act as an impetus for all food providers, both local and across the country, to ensure that their food hygiene regimes are thorough and robust.

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