Burger blamed over BSE death
Tuesday 20 August 1996
Geoffrey Burt, coroner for North Durham, returned a verdict of misadventure on Peter Hall, 20, who died in February of CJD despite being a vegetarian since 1992. Mr Burt said that on the "balance of probabilities" something like a beefburger eaten before 1990 caused the disease.
The verdict was significant because it did not rule the disease to be "natural causes", as it would be in its normal form, which usually affects people over 60. Instead, Mr Burt told the hearing, in Durham, that he felt misadventure was the appropriate verdict because the former student's death came about "through an outside course".
The decision leaves open the question of whether Mr Hall's parents could sue the manufacturers of any foods, or the Government, for failing to take sufficient action to keep the BSE agent out of the food chain.
After the hearing, his parents said they were "very pleased" with the outcome but it was "far too early" to consider pressing for compensation. Derek Hall said: "This has been a step in the right direction and is more ammunition to get things moving for a public inquiry." His wife, Frances, said: "We want the Government to recognise that this has been a problem for a lot of years and should have been dealt with much earlier. Our son died because of their mistakes."
However, James Ironside, of the CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh, said: "This doesn't constitute proof of a link. It is a hypothesis, based on the epidemiological evidence. We need results from other experiments before we can definitely say that one causes the other."
He also disclosed that the number of suspected victims of the new CJD is slowly growing, according to figures from the unit. Five more suspected cases are under review, including that of a teenage girl in Scotland. There have been 12 cases in Britain in the past two years, with all the victims aged under 42.
Mr Hall, who was from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, was one of the 12. He had been vegetarian since he was 16 but his father said that before that time he had often taken a quick beefburger snack on coming home from school. And more often than not they had brisket on Sunday. Mr Burt said: "I am satisfied that it is more likely than not that Peter contracted this disease prior to 1990 through eating some form of contaminated beef product, such as a beefburger."
A Health Department spokesman said that a coroner's opinion did not constitute scientific fact.
"The verdict is misadventure. It's a contribution to the debate and you now know the coroner's opinion but it doesn't actually change anything material here."
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...