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Schoolgirl, 15, died after ‘eating Pret a Manger baguette’



The loss of their 15-year-old daughter who died following a severe allergic reaction is “a daily battle and the pain is indescribable”, her family have said.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s father’s efforts when she collapsed during their flight from Heathrow to Nice in 2016 were sadly not enough to save her.

Despite the use of two epipens administered by her father, she was declared dead at a hospital in the French city later the same day.

Shortly before boarding the plane Natasha had eaten an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette purchased from the main Pret a Manger shop in Terminal 5 at the west London airport.

The bread contained sesame seeds which Natasha was allergic to – but were not listed on the ingredients.

Ednan-Laperouse family
Natasha’s grieving parents have been unable to unpack her holiday bag. Pic: Ednan-Laperouse family

An inquest into her death will begin on Monday and will look at how one of the country’s biggest food chains did not list the seeds as an ingredient.

Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, who is the founder and CEO of WOW Toys and was awarded the MBE in 2000, issued a joint statement with his wife Tanya, who also has a key role within the family run company.

In the statement, Natasha’s parents explained how two years on from her death, their daughter’s holiday bag from the trip still sits unpacked in her room.

“As a family now of three, my wife, son and I are still trying to adjust to life without our beloved girl. It’s a daily battle and the pain is indescribable.

“Everything we say and do is a reminder that she isn’t with us; her empty bedroom, school uniform hanging in her wardrobe, her holiday bag packed for her holiday in Nice has never been unpacked.

“We can’t bear to.”

Ednan-Laperouse family
Natasha had eaten an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette purchased from Pret a Manger. Pic: Ednan-Laperouse family

They described their daughter as a girl with many friends at school and “who had a strong moral compass and often showed maturity beyond her years”.

An aspiring lawyer and talented ice skater, Natasha, from Fulham in London, had her “best ever” summer planned.

It included a week at a youth Christian Festival in Norfolk and a two-week family holiday in Greece, as well as the break to Nice with her best friend.

“You could not ask for a more wonderful daughter,” her parents said in their tribute.

“She had a great sense of humour and was known for her contagious laughter – she could reduce a whole room to tears of laughter in minutes!

“She was also gentle, brave and loyal and showed great kindness and courage on many occasions.”

Over 300 people attended her memorial service in December 2016 on what would have been her 16th birthday.

Ednan-Laperouse family
‘You could not ask for a more wonderful daughter,’ her parents said. Pic: Ednan-Laperouse family

During the inquest the coroner will hear evidence from both the Pret a Manger store manager on the date Natasha bought the baguette, and the head of safety and compliance at the UK-based sandwich shop chain, which has 500 stores worldwide and was sold in May this year for £1.5bn.

Also giving evidence will be the captain on the British Airways flight and the flight crew who witnessed Natasha’s collapse on 17 July 2016.

The Sunday Times reports that Pret was already improving the allergen information available to customers when it was made aware of the case by the coroner’s office.

“We were deeply saddened to hear about Natasha’s tragic death, and our heartfelt thoughts are with her family,” the chain told the paper.

“We take food allergies and how allergen information is provided extremely seriously. We will continue to do all that we can to assist the inquest.”

A BA spokesman said the company were sorry to hear of the young girl’s death and that its thoughts were with the family.

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