Why did James die after eating food ordered via the Deliveroo app?

by Stuart and Jill Atkinson

Why did James die after eating food ordered via the Deliveroo app?

by Stuart and Jill Atkinson
Stuart and Jill Atkinson
Case Owner
The parents of James Atkinson
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Latest: Jan. 15, 2024

Inquest concludes

On 10 July 2020, our lives changed forever when our beautiful son was cruelly taken from this world. James had so much to live for, he was only 23 and had recently graduated from Newcastle University…

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We are Stuart and Jill Atkinson from Leeds, the parents of the late James Atkinson. Our beautiful son died suddenly on 10 July 2020 when he was just 23 years old after ordering a takeaway pizza via the Deliveroo app from Dadyal Restaurant. James had a known nut allergy to peanuts and we have been told that he may have suffered a severe allergic reaction known as “anaphylaxis” after we believe he ate just once slice of pizza.  He was eating dinner with a few of his flat mates in Newcastle where they lived.  We didn’t even get to say goodbye before his heart stopped.  He died alone, without his mum, dad and family with him. He was a clever boy; he had graduated from Newcastle University after studying computer science.  How could this have happened to him when he was always so careful?  There will always be a hole in our hearts without James.

We have been told by the police that the restaurant may have swapped an ingredient in his pizza on the day he died to a powder containing peanuts.  We want to find out if that is correct, and if so, how that could have been allowed to happen.

A bit about our wonderful son James

James was a bright and bubbly character who lived life to the full. He loved sports especially rugby, cycling and running. He also completed a triathlon with his friends which he was very proud of.  He moved to Newcastle to study computer science and loved it so much he decided to stay. He loved spending time with his friends and brightened up any room. He was the life and soul of a party and went out of his way to make sure everyone was having a good time. 

James loved his time with family and looked forward to coming home to spend time with us all and having long walks with our dog. James also loved a games night and would enjoy beating us all! James will be forever missed by all his family and friends.

Our legal case

As James died in unusual circumstances, there will be an “Inquest” into his death which is an official Court process to hopefully find out how, when and where he died.

The first Court hearing in this process, called a “Pre-Inquest Review Hearing” will be going ahead on 10 May 2022 in Newcastle. We have been told that a 3-day Inquest into James’ death will be taking place on what would have been his 26th birthday. We should be celebrating his life on this day and instead we are going to be asking questions about what happened to him that night. We have no words to describe how painful this will be.  

But this isn’t just about James. There are over 2 million people living with a diagnosed food allergy in the UK and this number is on the rise. Everyone living with an allergy deserves to have confidence to order a takeaway free from fear of having a severe allergic reaction.  They have the right to be told if the food they order contains any allergens.  That should be basic stuff.

Deliveroo is a massive company and it is daunting facing them in a legal process like this.  More and more people order food online this way and we think we need to shine a light on how this happens.

In order to help us in this complicated legal process involving big organisations, we feel we need the very best legal representation.  The law surrounding food information and allergies is very complicated, consisting of lots of guidance and regulation that is lengthy and confusing. We have instructed the legal team from law firm Leigh Day that helped Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s family, Owen Carey’s family and Shanté Turay-Thomas’ family to give us the best chance.  We would also like to work with a specialist barrister who has experience in high profile cases like this.  

We owe it to James’ memory to help the Senior Coroner find out whether there are any lessons to be learnt.  If there are, we will work with other campaigners to try to make sure that other people with allergies and their families don’t have to go through what we have.  

How much do we need to raise? 

To start off with, we need to raise a minimum amount of £10,000.  If we can reach this goal, we make sure that we have the best team to help us participate properly in the first part of his case. We will make sure that we post regular updates on this website in order to keep anyone that wants to help up to date with any information that we are able to give.  If we reach that target, we may need to raise at least £50,000 to get to the end of the case.  By spreading the word, we hope we can achieve this.

We are determined to ensure a full and fearless Inquest into James’ death and want to do all we can in his memory to help increase the protection for allergy sufferers in the UK.  

Thank you for reading this. Please help us get Justice for James.

Stuart and Jill Atkinson & Family

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Update 10

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

Jan. 15, 2024

Inquest concludes

On 10 July 2020, our lives changed forever when our beautiful son was cruelly taken from this world. James had so much to live for, he was only 23 and had recently graduated from Newcastle University in computer science and had started a promising career as a computer programmer. He was a fantastic boy and lit up any room. We miss him very much every day.

Today the Inquest into James’ tragic death has concluded. We would like to thank the coroner for her thorough investigation which has helped us understand what happened to our son on that terrible night. We would also like to thank our Solicitors Jill Paterson and Thomas Jervis of Leigh Day and our barrister team from Park Square Barristers for helping us seek justice for James over the last 3 years.

James died from anaphylaxis after eating food which contained fatal amounts of hidden peanut to which he was allergic. He had ordered the food from the well-known food app, Deliveroo, which had partnered with a local restaurant called Dadyal. The Inquest heard how the restaurant had a chaotic and misinformed approach to handling food allergens. Their menu did not disclose accurate information as to the true content of the food. We were horrified to hear evidence about exactly what went on in that kitchen and seriously question whether anyone with an allergy could ever have safely ordered food from there.

James’ case has shone light on a much bigger issues that need urgent attention. There are 3 major online food apps that dominate the delivery market, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat. The United Kingdom is home to one of the biggest online food delivery markets in the world which is estimated to be worth billions of pounds.

One in four people in the UK live with allergies and that number is on the rise. Online food platforms have a major role in choosing who they partner with and how food is safely provided to customers by their partner providers. The Inquest in James’ death has heard evidence that Deliveroo is not legally required to provide allergen information to customers using their app.

We now take this opportunity to publicly call on the bosses of the big 3 apps; Will Shu of Deliveroo, Matthew Price of UberEats and Claire Pointon of Just Eat to meet with us to carry out a collaborative review of what further steps can be taken to better protect consumers. This is not about competition or sales; this is about people’s lives.

James will forever be in our hearts.

Even if the outcome of this is that one person’s life is saved, then that’s something.

Update 9

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

Jan. 14, 2024

Inquest concluding tomorrow

After a really hard week of hearing evidence from the Dadyal takeaway, Deliveroo and others, tomorrow the inquest into James’ death will conclude.

It has been a really difficult time for all of us. We have had to listen for the first time to details as to exactly what happened to James on that night, and will always wonder if things could have been different.

We want to thank everyone for their continued support during this long and painful process in getting justice for James.

We will aim to update you all following tomorrow's conclusion.

Love, James’ family

Update 8

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

Jan. 7, 2024

James’ Inquest Starts Tomorrow

It has been a very long road so far, but the Inquest into James’ death starts tomorrow and is set to last up to 2 weeks.  Thank you for everyone’s ongoing support, we could not have got this far without you all.  This is for James and the 2 million allergy sufferers in the UK.   It is going to be a really tough 2 weeks for our family but we will aim to keep you updated where we can.

Love James’ Family, X

Update 7

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

Jan. 7, 2024

Our Beautiful Son James

Our Beautiful Son James 

James Stuart Atkinson was born on the 21 October 1996 at 10:30pm and we knew from that moment that our family was complete.

He was a happy, bubbly blonde haired little boy who brought sunshine and happiness wherever he went.

James, from an early age, loved the seaside, climbing and trying any activity he could.  From Akido to golf to rugby, cycling and outdoor adventures.

He loved school, attending Green Lane Primary School, Garforth Community College before finally completing his education at Newcastle University where he received a 2:1 in Computer Science.

He formed firm friendships and made Newcastle his home. He found his dream job in computer programming where we were told “he brought the biggest ray of sunshine into the office and brightened everyone’s day”.

James had a gift of making others happy, checking in on friends and offering support when needed.  To be in his company with his amazing sense of humour and infectious laugh was a privilege.  First on the dance floor and last to leave James lived his life to its fullest but also had a sensitive and thoughtful side. 

His whole family meant the world to him. He was loving, kind and caring.

James’ sudden death has left an insurmountable hole in our hearts.

He had his whole life ahead of him full of future plans and dreams that will not be realised or witnesses by his family.

No more memories to make.

We were blessed to have him for the 23 years that we did.  He is irreplaceable.  However, to honour him we hold a forever space in our hearts and carry him with us always - our beautiful boy James.

Update 6

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

May 15, 2023

Second Pre-Inquest Review Hearing

Last year we lodged a Victims’ Right to Review asking the Police to re-investigate their decision to take no further action against those we believe played their part in James’ death. In February, they told us that they were upholding their original decision which means that no criminal prosecution will be brought for what happened. 

We found this deeply disappointing. However, we are not deterred in our efforts to seek justice for James and make sure lessons are learnt so that no other family has to go through what we did. 

We also asked the local Council (who are responsible for regulating the take-away restaurant) to formally review their decision not to bring any proceedings under food safety and health and safety law. The Council have told us that their final decision will be made after the Inquest has concluded. 

The next step in this difficult journey is the Second Pre-Inquest Review Hearing in Newcastle on Wednesday 17 May. We will share an update with you after the hearing.

We are so appreciative to all of you who have donated so far to help fund our specialist legal team who are representing us and James at the hearing. Please keep spreading the word where you can. 

Love, James' Family x

Update 5

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

July 7, 2022

Remembering James

This Sunday, 10 July 2022, is the second anniversary of our James’ death. We will be remembering James this weekend especially, thinking of the happy times we all had together as a family.

We just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated for their ongoing support. We have been so overwhelmed by peoples kind generosity and messages of support not just from the UK, but around the world.  We can’t bring James back, but we are so grateful that your backing is allowing us to do the very best for James, and get us the proper legal support that he deserves. We will aim to provide you with the next case update as soon as we can. 

Thank you.

Stuart, Jill and the family 

Update 4

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

May 23, 2022

Good Morning Britain Interview

We are really grateful to Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley for interviewing us on   Good Morning Britain today to talk about our wonderful son James. We miss him every day. Watch our interview here: 

Update 3

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

May 10, 2022

Today we attended the First Pre-Inquest Review Hearing in Newcastle

Nothing can ever bring our James back but today we stood for him in Court and called for a full and proper investigation into his utterly avoidable death. 

We have lodged a Victims' Right to Review calling on the Police to re-investigate what happened and to potentially bring criminal cases against those we believe played their part. 

We are pleased that the Coroner confirmed that Deliveroo will be required to attend the Inquest and provide evidence. 

We are so grateful to the hundreds of people across the country who have supported our CrowdJustice fundraising campaign. Only through your amazing kindness and generosity will we finally get Justice for James. Please keep spreading the word to help us hit our goal. 

Love, James' Family x 

Update 2

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

May 9, 2022

James on Graduation Day

We wanted to share a picture of James on his graduation day. He studied Computer Science at Newcastle University and he loved it. 

Update 1

Stuart and Jill Atkinson

May 9, 2022

Half way to initial target!

There has been an outpouring of public support since yesterday’s media coverage. We have now raised half the initial target, but we still need your help to keep going. Please keep spreading the word. 

Much love, James’ family

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