Mystery over diner’s birthday meal death

PUBLISHED: 15:54 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 August 2010

A WOMAN died after having her 50th birthday meal at a restaurant frequented by Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger.

A WOMAN died after having her 50th birthday meal at a restaurant frequented by Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger.

Mother-of-two Denise Martin, from Sidcup, died last Tuesday, three days after eating Oysters at the posh London restaurant Quaglino's.

She had complained of stomach pains and suffered severe vomiting before she died but a post mortem failed to establish the cause of death.

Ms Martin's partner of 22 years, taxi driver Roy Johal, 52, said he did not blame the restaurant for her death.

He added: "Denise went to the restaurant on Saturday night with five girlfriends to celebrate her 50th birthday. They all ate oysters, which Denise had never eaten before.

"She was fine all day Sunday, didn't complain or feel unwell at all. Then on Monday she went to work and was violently sick everywhere.

"She came home and went to bed and told the family she had a stomach bug and to keep away from her.

"She asked for some water and told me to sleep on the settee, which I did. She told our sons to stay out of the bedroom so they didn't catch anything.

"On Tuesday morning, I went in to see her and she had passed away. She looked really peaceful and that's what I am holding on to."

Mr Johal and Ms Martin had two sons together, 18-year-old Harry and Alfie, 10, who are said to be devastated.

Mr Johal added: "Denise was beautiful, she had just celebrated her 50th birthday but looked 25.

"She used to take one of our sons to football and parents would mistake her for his sister.

"She was stunning and such a lovely woman on the inside as well."

Environmental health officers from Westminster City Council and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have launched an investigation.

But sources close to the investigation say no evidence has been found linking what Ms Martin ate at Quaglino's to her death.

A source said: "Initially it looked as if the woman may have become ill after eating oysters at the restaurant but another woman in her party who ate them was absolutely fine and did not suffer any ill effects."

Richard Block, food safety manager at Westminster City Council, said: "There is nothing currently to link this death directly to the restaurant which is co-operating fully with our investigation."

Quaglino's voluntarily closed on hearing of Ms Martin's death before re-opening last Thursday.

A spokesman for the restaurant, which is owned by D&D, said: "We are continuing to fully co-operate with their investigation.

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