A British pub chef has admitted under-cooking a shepherd’s pie — killing a 92-year-old woman and sickening 31 others at a church event.
John Croucher, who has been a chef for 20 years, said he “was rushed” when he failed to properly cook the meat in the traditional British dish served to 35 congregants at a Northamptonshire village event in 2018, according to a court report in The Guardian.
Elizabeth Neuman, 92, repeatedly vomited after eating the pie and died from gastrointestinal bleeding, while 31 others also had food poisoning, Reading Crown Court was told.
Only three people escaped getting sick — because they were vegetarians who did not eat the meat-filled dish, the court heard.
Croucher, 40, admitted a charge of contravening food regulations, telling the court it was “something I will never forget.”
“Remorse is an understatement,” he said. “Because of it, I am a better chef and it is just a shame the cost of it had to be what it was.”
He was was given a four-month jail sentence that was suspended for 12 months, The Guardian said, meaning he will not serve time behind bars if he stays out of trouble in that time.
Judge Sarah Campbell told him, “No sentence I pass can reflect the loss caused to the family.”
Croucher had been working as head chef at the Crewe Arms in the Northamptonshire village of Hinton-in-the-Hedges at the time.
The pub’s landlord, Neil Billingham, also admitted three charges of contravening food regulations and was fined nearly $12,000 and ordered to pay more than $1,300 court costs. His company was also fined nearly $4,000, the UK paper said.