A Bermondsey publican has hit back after a national newspaper accused her of serving punters pints over the dead body of a staff member.
Sandra Smith, who runs the Ancient Foresters pub in Southwark Park Road, said she was distraught and disgusted that the tragic death of an ‘incredibly kind and genuine’ pensioner was sensationalised in a major tabloid.
As reported by the News last week, the body of John Pannell, 70, lay for seven hours behind the bar before it was finally collected by authorities.
Sandra, his sister Sue and friend Tony all spoke of their shock at the length of time it took for the ‘lovely’ man to be collected.
However, a national paper that picked up the story slammed Sandra and her pub. Since then she has faced a barrage of online criticism from people who have accused her of disrespecting her late colleague.
Sandra said: “I am really upset by what was printed. The part of the bar where John was lying was closed off by the police, who told us to leave the other bar open. You couldn’t even see him. If they had told us to close it we would have done it straight away.
“It was very quiet, with only four or five people in the pub, and most of them were only there to make sure I was okay.
“I felt helpless. All I wanted to do was get in touch with his family and make sure his body was taken away and didn’t have to lie by the bar all day. It wasn’t right.”
For the second week running Southwark Council was contacted by the News but failed to respond with an explanation as to why it took so long for the coroner to collect the body.