‘My daughter said goodbye – hours later she was dead in her friend’s garden’: Mother recalls last time she saw her ‘beautiful’ teenager, 17, alive before she died from an allergic reaction after eating a rice cake containing walnuts
A bereaved mother has recalled the last time she saw her ‘beautiful’ 17-year-old daughter before she suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a rice cake from her work.
Hollie Stokes collapsed in her friend’s garden after eating a rice cake that contained walnuts from the restaurant in Redditch where she had a part-time job as a cleaner.
The 17-year-old college student, who had a severe nut allergy, had worked at the restaurant for three months, while also studying at Bromsgrove College.
Her mother, Kerrie Stokes, has now described the last time she spoke to Hollie before her ‘horrific and undignified death’, recalling how the teenager kissed her little brother and sister goodbye.
The next time Ms Stokes saw her daughter she was in her friend’s back garden, surrounded by police and ambulances, having passed away on September 15 2022.
Now, the bereaved mother has vowed to ‘fight all the way’ for answers, after claiming she was ‘let down’ by the authorities, following the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to drop the case.
Hollie Stokes, 17, (pictured) died after suffering an allergic reaction to walnuts inside a rice cake from her work
Hollie’s mother Kerrie Stokes (pictured) has vowed to ‘fight all the way’ for answers following her beloved daughter’s death
Her mother said: ‘When she got the job here, we said ‘don’t be so stupid you can’t work there, they work with nuts, shellfish etc.’
‘She said, ‘she knows I’ve got allergies, don’t worry about it. I’m just taking phone orders.’
‘We’ve kept her safe the whole 15 years we knew she had allergies, and within three months of working there it had cost her her life,’ Ms Stokes said
Her mother explained that after leaving for work on September 15, 2022 after getting home from college, the college student suffered an allergic reaction that led to her death.
‘She got home around 2pm from college, she spoke about a present she was buying for my birthday,’ her mother said.
‘I gave her a parcel she’d been waiting for and she tried these trousers on. Then she left for work, shouted ‘bye guys’, kissed her little brother and sister and that was it.’
Her mother, Kerrie Stokes, has described the last time she saw her daughter before her tragic death
Hollie Stokes, 17, (pictured) died after taking a part-time job in a restaurant in Redditch town centre
Just hours later, the shocked mother got a call from Hollie’s friend’s father, warning her that her beloved daughter was unwell.
‘The next time I saw her was around 11pm on the night in her friend’s back garden – and she’d passed away,’ Ms Stokes said.
‘I’d had a call from her friend’s dad to say she’d passed out, she’d eaten something, had a slight fit, at that point I just thought ‘oh god it’s an allergic reaction, quick I’ve got to get there.’
‘I ran to the neighbours house with the kids, she drove me to the hospital where we got a phone call to say we needed to go to the house.
‘When we got there it was just police everywhere, ambulances everywhere and that’s when I got told she’d passed away,’ the mother added.
‘She died a horrific and undignified death where she didn’t even make it to the hospital. She died in her friend’s back garden that’s how severe it was,’ the mother said.
Now, after waiting 12 months for a police investigation to provide answers, Ms Stokes still feels the truth has not been reached.
West Mercia Police initially arrested a woman on suspicion of manslaughter two days after her death.
Police initially arrested a woman on suspicion of manslaughter but the case was later dropped leaving Hollie’s mother. Kerrie Stokes, (pictured) demanding answers
The CPS subsequently decided to drop a case against a former manager at Hollie’s workplace, following claims the 17-year-old asked her whether the rice cake contained nuts.
The force has now confirmed no further action will be taken and that the case – probing gross negligence manslaughter – has been closed.
The former manager, who no longer works at the restaurant in Redditch town centre, said she knew Hollie was a vegetarian and claimed Hollie had asked if the food contained meat, to which she replied ‘no’.
Hollie’s family have now pledged to fight for the truth, having lodged a Right of Review, with West Mercia Police saying they would comment in ‘due course’
A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: ‘The investigation is subject to a Victim Right to Review therefore it would not be appropriate for us to comment until this has concluded, however, we will do so in due course.’