Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Saturday, 8 September 2007 10:13 UK

Anger of E.coli victim's mother

Sharon Mills
Sharon Mills said life without her son was 'unbearable'

The mother of the five-year-old boy who died in an E.coli outbreak in 2005 says she can "never forgive" the butcher who supplied the contaminated meat.

Sharon Mills spoke as William Tudor, 54, was jailed for a year after the outbreak affected 44 primary schools.

Families involved have called for the law to be strengthened after Cardiff Crown Court heard the maximum sentence that could be imposed was two years.

A public inquiry into the case is expected to start in February.

The sentencing hearing was told 158 people, mainly children, became ill in the outbreak which stemmed from cross-contamination risks found at Tudor's meat processing plant in Bridgend.

For Mason Jones from Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley, it was fatal.

He died in hospital two weeks after eating contaminated ham and turkey at his school canteen.

Mason Jones
Mason Jones died after eating contaminated ham and turkey

Tudor had admitted six charges and was told by Judge Neil Bidder he had put the health of the public at risk for the sake of saving money.

The court heard that health inspectors found "fundamental failures" in cleaning, including congealed debris and dirt on a vacuum packaging machine.

After the sentencing Mason's mother said life without her son was "unbearable".

She told BBC Wales: "He just had a glow about him, my son. Everybody loved him. His presence is so missed. It's terrible. Life is just awful without him.

"I'll never be able to get over losing my son and I'll never, ever be able to forgive William Tudor for what he's done to us.

"At the end of this, William Tudor will be free to go back to his family and walk away from all this, whereas he has completely ripped apart a family."

Ms Mills said she would be campaigning to have the law changed for a stronger deterrent in the hope that Mason's death "won't be in vain".

She said: "There's such a big gap between gross negligence manslaughter and food prosecutions - because it is not enough what they're given for that, two years maximum is just not enough."

William Tudor
William Tudor was jailed for a year over his contaminated meat products

Professor Hugh Pennington is leading the public inquiry into the outbreak and said his team were now free to complete the task with the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

He said the inquiry would "get answers" to people's questions.

He said: "I had hoped that the inquiry could start its hearings before the end of this year.

"Unfortunately, the time taken for the local authority proceedings to reach their conclusion means that this isn't possible.

"I now expect the inquiry's hearings to start in February.

"I will ensure that the public gets answers to questions about the outbreak and issues around it, particularly those individuals and families who were affected by it.

"However, it is essential that all the facts are obtained before conclusions are drawn."

video and audio news
Sharon Mills said she could never forgive William Tudor



SEE ALSO
E.coli butcher jailed for a year
07 Sep 07 |  South East Wales
E.coli meat butcher pleads guilty
27 Jul 07 |  South East Wales

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