Mother of E. coli victim prepares for inquest in Wales

Sharon Mills has waited over five years to tell a coroner how her 5-year-old son spent his final days dying from E. coli O157.

The long-awaited inquest into the death of E.coli victim Mason Jones is due to begin in front of Gwent coroner David Bowen, in Newport.

Wales Online reports Mason died on October 4, 2005, at Bristol Children’s Hospital, around two weeks after contracting the food poisoning bug. He was one of 158 victims, most of them children, struck down by the O157 strain.

The start of the inquest has been delayed to allow the completion of the South Wales Police investigation into Mason’s death, the prosecution of Bridgend butcher William Tudor under food hygiene laws and to allow E.coli expert Professor Hugh Pennington to conduct a public inquiry.

His report, which laid the blame for the outbreak firmly on the shoulders of Tudor but also identified serious failings in local authority inspection and procurement procedures, will form part of the evidence that Mr Bowen will consider before giving his verdict.

Ms. Mills, 36, from Deri, near Bargoed, said,

“This is what we have been waiting for for five years. I just hope that justice prevails. … The feeling that I need to get justice has taken over my life over the last five years and the end is near now and I am scared that we are not going to get the outcome that Mason deserves. I’m just hoping that I find the strength from somewhere to get through the next couple of days. I have experienced the worst thing I can ever experience, but having to deal with the inquest comes second. The hurt never goes away when you lose a child. You never get over it – you learn to live alongside it.”