South Shields bar gave women 'bleach cocktails'

Lauren Murphy, right, with her sister Michelle Lauren Murphy, right, and her sister Michelle suffered burns

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Five women who suffered burns when they drank cocktails containing bleach have won compensation.

Lauren Murphy, 22, feared she was going to die after tasting the contaminated drink while out with family and friends in South Shields in February 2011.

Tests showed the pink kangaroo cocktail was contaminated with bleach, normally used for cleaning bar pipes.

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

Ms Murphy, who lives in South Shields, was out celebrating her mother's 50th birthday in the town and visited Raffles and Dante's bar in Ocean Road, which is now closed.

One of the women ordered the pink kangaroo, which should contain tequila, vodka, cider, cranberry juice and orange juice.

'Ball of fire'

But after taking a sip, one woman vomited immediately and others suffered throat burns and had to wash out their mouths.

Ms 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.

"I couldn't swallow properly for six weeks. It felt like a ball of fire inside, it was terrifying, I thought I was going to die."

Steven Thomson, from TLW Solicitors, the firm representing the group, said: "Many tens of thousands of drinks are bought on Tyneside every weekend and, in each case, the customer puts their trust in the bar or pub that the product will be safe to drink.

"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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