A 15-YEAR-OLD had to be rushed to hospital in a 'potentially life threatening' condition after she was served egg at an acclaimed Oxfordshire pub - despite repeatedly telling staff of her severe allergy.

The owner of The Bull, Charlbury - Charlie Crossley - accepted responsibility but pointed the finger of blame at the chef working that night for what he called a 'foolish, naive mistake'.

After handing magistrates testimonials from notable figures - including the Duke of Marlborough - the 16th century pub escaped with a fine.

Outlining the case at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Monday, West Oxfordshire District Council prosecutor Sara Anthony said the incident happened on the night of April 14 last year.

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The teenager - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had gone to the Sheep Street pub with a friend to enjoy a dessert between 6 and 7pm.

Asking the waitress for a menu, her friend immediately said that the girl suffered from a 'severe egg and nut allergy' and asked what food would be suitable.

After the kitchen staff were also made aware a panna cotta was suggested and the girl asked a second time if they were 'absolutely sure' it was safe, given the severity of her allergy.

Checking again, the waitress was assured the dessert was safe and the food was prepared and served.

After eating just two spoonfuls she immediately started to have an allergic reaction, beginning with a tingling sensation.

On leaving the pub she took allergy tablets and later an EpiPen when her parents were called but she continued to have symptoms, including severe itching all over her body, a rash, a headache, drowsiness and a tight throat.

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Terrified, the court heard, the girl was taken to the Horton General Hospital where doctors described her condition as 'potentially life threatening'.

After treatment she was discharged the following day.

Once the case was reported the council launched an investigation and it transpired that the dessert had been served with a passion fruit curd and mint syrup - which contained egg - thereby triggering her allergy.

It was also revealed that an 'allergen matrix' document had been taken home by the head chef so it was not available to all staff that night.

The pub went on to plead guilty to one count of failing to comply with specified food information regulations before the sentencing hearing on Monday.

Representing the pub at court, the owner Charlie Crossley apologised for the 'aberration' and went on to blame the chef working that night.

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He said: "May I first express my deepest regret that the family of the young girl experienced such a horrible experience and suffered such distress.

"I am very sorry. This has shaken the whole team."

Explaining the incident he said the head chef and general manager were not present that night, having already left work.

He said that the chef in charge - who he named as Paul - 'inexplicably placed the curd on the plate'.

He said: "It was a simple and naive mistake. I firmly believe that this was an innocent accident in its purest sense."

Mr Crossley went on to say that he had not been aware of a doctor diagnosing a potentially life-threatening condition or any danger to life.

He also handed to magistrates testimonials from notable figures.

Speaking of the pub he called it a 'venue for social gathering' and said it was an 'asset' for the area.

Of the pub's finances he said it was 'difficult to make ends meet'.

He added: "I hope you treat me leniently without undermining the seriousness of the incident."

Sentencing, presiding magistrate Nigel Morgan noted that Mr Crossley had made a 'genuine apology' for what had happened and accepted responsibility for the actions of his staff.

He added, though, that the case was 'aggravated by the repeated questioning' to the staff about the girl's severe allergy.

The pub - which is owned by Pack Taverns Ltd - was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £2,854 and a £170 victim surcharge.