Two staff jailed over deadly Christmas lunch which killed diner at Railway Hotel in Essex
Two staff jailed over deadly Christmas lunch which killed diner at Railway Hotel in EssexGoogle

A pub boss and chef have been jailed while the company has been fined £1.5m after their Christmas lunch, cooked the previous night and reheated on a hot plate the following day, killed a woman.

Manager Anne-Marie McSweeney, 40, and cook Mehmet Kaya, 37, were convicted of perverting the course of justice over festive meals that left dozens of diners sick at The Railway, a pub in Essex owned by Mitchells & Butlers, in 2012.

Della Callagher, 46, died two days after eating a lunch infested with Clostridium bacteria. She suffered vomiting and diarrhoea in scenes her husband said were "horrific to see".

The Clostridium bacteria spread because Callagher's meal was not allowed to cool after being cooked and then was placed on a hot plate to reheat.

McSweeney and Kaya falsified food safety records and were jailed for 18 and 12 months respectively. Meanwhile, Mitchells & Butlers, the biggest pub chain in Britain, was fined after being found guilty of placing unsafe food on the market.

Recalling Callagher's death, husband John said: "We both had the same symptoms, but Della got progressively far worse than me as we went throughout the day, with vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain.

"The vomiting and diarrhoea wouldn't stop and Della was a very private person, and it was horrific to see what was going on."