Group wins payout over bleach cocktail

A group of women, who suffered “terrifying” burns after drinking cocktails that contained bleach, have won compensation from the bar they were drinking in.

Court houseThe women were in Raffles and Dante’s bar in South Tyneside celebrating a 50th birthday when one of them ordered a ‘pink kangaroo’ cocktail, which should contain tequila, vodka, cider, cranberry juice and orange juice. One woman vomited immediately after taking a gulp, while others suffered throat burns and ran to the toilet to wash out their mouths.

Tests later showed the suspect drink was contaminated with bleach, normally used for cleaning bar pipes.

Lauren Murphy said she thought she was going to die after taking a sip of the contaminated drink in February 2011.

Murphy said: “I went in the toilets and my friend was nearly passed out because she had swallowed her sip all the way down.

“The police were called and I gave my drink to the officer.

“By this time everyone was getting burns and I had bleach stains on my black dress.

“Three ambulances turned up and they shut the bar and we were taken to hospital.”

Ms Murphy, who comes from South Shields, said she has suffered from heartburn ever since the night out.

“I couldn’t swallow properly for six weeks,” she said.

“My mouth was swollen and my tongue piercing became all shiny.

“It felt like a ball of fire inside, it was terrifying, I thought I was going to die.”

Five women won £2,500 compensation each from the bar’s insurer in an out-of-court settlement.

Steven Thomson, from TLW Solicitors, which represented the group, told the Press Association: “We are delighted to have secured a settlement on behalf of our clients but disappointed a settlement could not have been reached without us having to issue court proceedings.

“As a result, this process has taken far longer than it ought to have done, but at least now my clients can put this horrendous incident behind them.

“I hope lessons will be learned from this incident that the safety of customers always has to be at the very top of the list of priorities.”

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