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Mum-of-5 who 'religiously avoided' dairy collapsed and died after eating Pret sandwich, inquest told
6 September 2022, 17:48 | Updated: 6 September 2022, 20:55
A husband has told of his “shock” after his wife, who suffered from a severe dairy allergy, collapsed in the street and died after eating a Pret sandwich labelled 'vegan' – despite it containing yoghurt.
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Celia Marsh, 42, from Melksham, Wiltshire, died on December 27, 2017 after a fatal reaction to the Pret super-veg rainbow flatbread on a post-Christmas shopping trip to Bath.
The mother-of-five "religiously avoided" dairy according to a statement from her husband, who recalls how his wife felt "a bit funny" after eating the vegan-labelled sandwich.
After claiming she was “being silly”, the dental nurse grabbed her inhaler and collapsed in the street before being helped by an off-duty GP who had offered to help.
Brendan Turvey, a civil servant who also tried to administer first aid at the scene, described the incident as "disturbing", noting Mr Marsh attempted to comfort his young daughter as they waited for an ambulance.
Mr Marsh followed the ambulance to hospital, describing how he was “taken into a side room” before being told “Celia had been pronounced dead at 4pm".
Recalling how his wife had been more cautious than normal following a near-fatal allergic reaction months earlier, Mr Marsh said he called 999 after she collapsed – despite his wife carrying an epipen.
The sandwich, which was found to contain traces of dairy protein, was said to have ‘inadequate’ labelling according to the family’s lawyer.
Taking place at Ashton Court Mansion House in Bristol, Mr Marsh and his daughters could be seen weeping as his statement was read out.
Mr Marshes statement read: "We started walking down the narrow side street by the Gap store and Celia had her asthma inhaler out.
"She used it a couple of times and I asked her if she was OK.
"She said she was struggling to breathe but it may be because of the cold air.
"She then said to me 'You need to phone an ambulance'," he added.
Shawn Eyles, one of the paramedics who attended, said in his statement that some shoppers continued to step over Mrs Marsh as she was being treated.
Pret was charged with food safety failures in the wake of Mrs Marsh's death, but the prosecution was later dropped due to lack of evidence.
The company said it would fully co-operate with the inquest.