TFFood NewsUK food delivery driver who bit customer’s thumb “clean” off over pizza dispute pleads guilty
TFFood NewsUK food delivery driver who bit customer’s thumb “clean” off over pizza dispute pleads guilty
Food News

UK food delivery driver who bit customer’s thumb “clean” off over pizza dispute pleads guilty

An English woman who was filling in for a friend as a delivery driver in the UK has reportedly pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm more than a year after a customer said she bit off her finger during a dispute. CBS News’ partner BBC News reported that 35-year-old Jenniffer Rocha bit the customer’s finger “clean” off in December 2022.

According to the BBC, Rocha was acting as a “substitute” delivery driver for a friend through the Deliveroo service when the incident occurred, meaning she was performing the work under someone else’s account. During his shift on December 14, 2022, 36-year-old Stephen Jenkinson of Aldershot ordered a pizza.

Rocha, however, attempted to deliver the food down the street from his address, and when he went to pick it up, he left his phone at home, leaving him unable to provide the delivery code number. He told BBC News that they then got into an argument, and at one point he raised his hand to Rocha’s motorcycle helmet.

That’s when she bit her thumb – and didn’t let go.

He said he was “shaking her helmet trying to get her off,” and when he finally did, he said he lifted his arm and “sprayed her with blood.”

A photo he provided to BBC News shows his hand covered in gauze and blood – and thumbless above the knuckle.

“The force with which she must have been biting, she’d clean taken it off,” he told BBC News, adding it looked like a chainsaw had taken it off.

In a statement to CBS News, Deliveroo called the incident “awful.”

“We ended the account of the rider concerned immediately and have fully cooperated with the police on the investigation,” the company said.

Doctors were able to graft part of his big toe to help replace his thumb, but Jenkinson was still struggling. He told BBC News that he’s a plumber and has had to relearn basic life skills, such as tying his shoes, and hasn’t been able to work.

“Financially, I’m ruined,” he said. “I’m unemployed. I’m in a massive amount of debt and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Deliveroo employs people as independent contractors who can appoint substitutes to deliver items on their behalf. But because of this, Deliveroo is exempt from legal responsibility for the incident. Deliveroo told BBC News in a statement that its riders are self-employed and that the act of substitution “is and always has been a common feature of self-employment.”

But lawyers for Jenkinson told BBC News that the incident is further proof that gig economy companies should be held accountable.

“The practice of substitution should be stopped and the companies should be required to carry out necessary checks on all people working for them,” attorney Alex Barley said.

A judicial hearing for Rocha is scheduled for May 3.

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