No inquiry or criminal action to be taken over E.coli death of child

Humphrey Errington of manufacturer Errington Cheese defended the company's products. Picture: Neil Hanna
Humphrey Errington of manufacturer Errington Cheese defended the company's products. Picture: Neil Hanna
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There will be no fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the death of a three-year-old girl during an E.coli outbreak, the Crown Office has announced.

Prosecutors also confirmed no criminal proceedings would be raised over the death of the child in September 2016, as they said last October.

A total of 26 cases of the same strain of E.coli 0157 were identified in the outbreak, which occurred between July and mid-September 2016. Seventeen people were hospitalised and the young Dunbartonshire girl died.

The Crown Office said having considered “all relevant matters” it decided this was not a case where an FAI was required.

A report published by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) last March said consumption of Dunsyre Blue cheese was the likely source of the E.coli outbreak. However, Lanarkshire-based manufacturer Errington Cheese strongly disputed its unpasteurised product was the cause.

Last year the firm announced it had started making Dunsyre Blue using pasteurised, rather than unpasteurised milk, but that it hoped the move would be “only a short to medium term measure whilst we wait for resolution of the ongoing legal issues”.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown Office has fully investigated the death of a three year-old Dunbartonshire girl who died on 2 September, 2016 following a complication of an E.coli infection.

“Following a full and thorough investigation by the Procurator Fiscal, Crown Counsel have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution and as a result no criminal proceedings are instructed.

“Should additional evidence come to light that decision may be reconsidered.

“Having given careful consideration to all relevant matters, including the recommendations of the incident management team, Crown Counsel were satisfied that the cause of the death had been clearly established and that in the circumstances this was not a case where a Fatal Accident Inquiry was required.

“The family have been informed of this decision.”

A statement from Food Standards Scotland said: “Food Standards Scotland has been notified that the Crown Counsel is satisfied that the cause of the child’s tragic death had already been clearly established and that, in the circumstances, a Fatal Accident Inquiry is not required.

“The Sheriff is still considering the evidence and legal arguments presented in the case of South Lanarkshire Council v Errington Cheese Ltd.”