Exclusive: Couple embroiled in Banbury social media storm speak out

An online post outlining a genuinely held belief that a Banbury shop keeper had refused to assist a diabetic with low blood sugar, caused a furore last week, now the pair involved have their say.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 1:08 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 6:22 pm
Shantah's shop on Parson's Street

The post, put online on January 8, detailed how the owner of Banbury Convenience Store in Parson's Street, Shantah Padukkage, had refused to sell a woman with type 1 diabetes a bar of chocolate, as she had walked into the store with a dog.

CCTV footage of the interaction proved the opposite had happened and Shantah had actually assisted the young woman.

Katie McLean, the type 1 diabetic seen entering the shop and purchasing a chocolate bar, said: "In response to what happened in the store, I would like to apologise to the Banbury community.

"After suffering a severe hypo, I shouldn’t of let it be announced on social media when what I thought was to be the case wasn’t. I appreciate the difficulty to understand this.

"A hypo can cause many different symptoms, they aren’t always physical, so may not be easily noticeable and also wont be the same for every diabetic. Shantah agreed I looked unwell and knew something wasn’t right.

"I would never purposely inflict anything like this upon anyone or their business. It is not in my character, I have always been kind, caring and friendly. Myself and my partner have promising careers ahead of us and we certainly wouldn’t ruin our opportunities.

"I have made a public apology and also visited Shantah in store too, he was kind and gave me the time to explain. I appreciate him understanding and we have both agreed to move on from this."

Both the original post, published on Banburyshire Info and the BG story containing the CCTV footage, caused many hateful comments to be directed at first towards Shantah and his store and then the author of the post, Katie's partner Alexandra Ayckbourn.

Alex said: "Just like everyone I was totally shocked, angry and upset and raised this with Katie straight away after reading the news article and receiving the CCTV. As a partner, when I was told what happened I simply felt like I needed to raise the issue as it was serious to me.

"Katie was really unwell so I posted on behalf of her. When the article was released, I had it out with her and I explained she could deal with everything that goes on social media.

"I felt she needed to explain herself to the public, not me. I know I would be massively targeted as someone who did the actual post.

"It is my goal to become an officer in the police force and for anyone who knows me, it is totally in my character to be honest, fair and supportive.

"To me, I was posting something I was told genuinely happened by the closest person to me, I wouldn’t of posted a lie and certainly would not of jeopardised my opportunity. I am extremely apologetic to the shop owner.

She added: "I also apologise to the community of Banbury. I cannot comprehend the abuse I have received, it’s totally wrong and luckily taken with a pinch of salt. I am not commenting for or on behalf of Katie, but I know she is visiting the shop to make a formal apology."

In a fitting end to this story, Shantah presented Katie with a chocolate bar when the pair met this week so she could keep it with her at all times for when her blood sugar levels were low.