A chef is sentenced after his pie killed one person and sickened 31 others

A chef was in a rush when he made a shepherd's pie that killed one person and sickened 31 others. Now he is going to jail, a steep punishment for a tragic accident.

John Croucher, the head chef for The Crewe Arms hotel and pub in the small village of Hinton-in-the-Hedges in England, had prepared a shepherd's pie for 35 church members who had come to celebrate a "harvest meal," according to The Guardian. But, having somewhere else to go, Croucher cut a few corners, which led to food poisoning.

The woman who died was 92-years-old, while the three people unaffected were vegetarians who didn't eat the pie.

From The Guardian:

Defending himself in court, Croucher, 40, said: "I hate to say it, I really hate to say it, but I think I was rushed. I was rushing." He said he had worked in kitchens for 20 years and was now "a better chef" because of the "horrible, horrible circumstance".

He added: "Remorse is an understatement. This is something I will never forget. Because of it, I am a better chef and it is just a shame the cost of it had to be what it was."

The judge, Sarah Campbell, said: "On 8 October 2018, 35 villagers went to the Crewe Arms for a harvest meal. Thirty-two people ate the shepherd's pie. A healthy and well person died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage induced from vomiting. No sentence I pass can reflect the loss caused to the family.

"Croucher was the chef that night. The mince was not cooked properly and was placed into a pan with iced water. Croucher needed to leave, so put the mince in cling film and put it in the fridge overnight. Having left it, he cooked it again and added warm mashed potato. He did not take the temperature when it was served."

Croucher was sentenced to 4 months in jail.