5-Year Old Boy Died Of E-Coli After Eating Rotten Meat In School Dinners

27/12/2010 17:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Mason Jones, e-coli, school dinnersA five-year-old boy died in agony, screaming and hallucinating, after eating school dinners containing meat contaminated with E.coli.

Mason Jones ate gammon and turkey supplied by a local butcher, who was jailed for a year for supplying rotten meat.

He had only recently switched from packed lunches to school dinners.

Speaking at the inquest, his devastated mother Sharon Mills wept as she told how the meals had 'utterly destroyed' her son, who died in hospital during Britain's second largest E.coli outbreak.

She recalled how Mason had returned home from school suffering from stomach pains.

'He was really lethargic and complaining of a headache. I gave him Calpol and throughout the night he was very hot and had pains in the abdomen.He was sick and had diarrhoea. He began to pass blood and was getting weaker and weaker.

'I tried to do everything I possibly could. Mason's condition deteriorated considerably and he started to hallucinate saying he could see slugs and frogs. He went a yellow colour and started sweating like he'd just come out of a shower.'

Mason, who lived in Deri, near Bargoed in South Wales, was admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children where he died from the 0157 strain of E.coli.

He was one of 158 schoolchildren and adults struck down. Thirty-one victims were admitted to hospital but Mason was the only one to die.

He suffered kidney failure two weeks after eating the cooked gammon and turkey at Deri Primary School in September 2005.

Police and public health officials launched an investigation into the outbreak and butcher William Tudor, 56, was later jailed for a year for breaching hygiene laws by allowing raw meat to come into contact with the cooked ham and turkey. He admitted supplying contaminated meat to 44 local schools.

Detective Superintendent Paul Burke told the inquest all the children infected had eaten meat supplied by Tudor from his factory in Bridgend, South Wales.

He described how one vacuum packer was used for packaging raw and cooked meats supplied to schools and care homes across South Wales.

'Cooked meat is at risk of being contaminated from raw meat if the two are stored in the same facility,' said Detective Burke.

'He would have been fully aware of the risks.'

The inquest heard many of Tudor's staff had not received proper hygiene training, cleaning records were not completed and a freezer at his premises was 'a complete jumble of cooked and raw meats, much of it past its sell-by date'.

Mrs Mills now campaigns for food safety and said of her son yesterday: 'I love him so much. I just want a little bit of justice for what he went through.

'I have experienced the worst thing I can ever experience. The hurt never goes away.'

Related articles

Suggest a correction