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Derby coroner confirms man’s listeria death

A coroner has confirmed a businessman who ate a sandwich in hospital died from a listeria infection.

Ian Hitchcock was being treated at the Royal Derby Hospital after being diagnosed with liver cancer in May.

He died on 8 June after eating a contaminated sandwich while there, his family has claimed.

The 52-year-old was named as one of the victims of the listeria outbreak at hospitals across the UK in June, after the lifting of reporting restrictions.

Coroner Dr Robert Hunter had banned the media from reporting Mr Hitchcock died from listeria after the infection was listed as one of two causes of death – the other being liver failure.

Mr Hitchcock, from Crich, Derbyshire, died after being transferred to Nottingham City Hospital.

At the opening of an inquest in June, a court was told Mr Hitchcock had eaten a sandwich from Good Food Chain and it was “not contested” that he had contracted listeria.

The Staffordshire-based firm, which supplied 43 NHS trusts across the UK, as well as one independent provider, voluntarily ceased production and Public Health England (PHE) said the investigation into the outbreak is continuing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously warned there will be “severe consequences” if there is evidence of “wrongdoing” over the listeria outbreak.

Mr Hitchcock’s brother Alan told the BBC he was “shocked and distraught” to hear of his death and described him as a “hard-working family man”.

A total of six deaths have been linked to the outbreak relating to pre-packed sandwiches and salads at hospitals.

An inquest into Mr Hitchcock’s death is yet to be held.

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