Melbourne mum sues over alleged snake bite that ‘killed’ seven-year-old son during school excursion


Melbourne mum Xiaoying Tan is suing the Victorian government over a snake bite which is suspected to have taken the life of her seven-year-old boy.

Her son was a was on a Grade 1 school excursion to Belgrave Recreational Reserve, in Melbourne’s outer east, when he was allegedly bitten by a brown snake on October 15 in 2013.

Teachers attempted to revive Junpeng Tan when went into cardiac arrest but he tragically died later at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

“This unfortunate young fellow has succumbed to a snake bite”

The pathologist who conducted the autopsy concluded that while there was no evidence of any injury that would have contributed or led to death, “it seems reasonable to determine that this unfortunate young fellow has succumbed to a snake bite”.

The boy’s mother is suing the state , which operates Rowville Primary School, and the owners of Mount Morton Camp and Conference Centre at Belgrave Heights where the class was visiting when the seven-year-old allegedly suffered the fatal bite, the Herald Sun reported.



The eastern brown snake is a common culprit in snakebites on humans and domestic pets.


Ms Tan, who only moved from China to Australia two months earlier with her son, is seeking damages for pain and suffering and loss of earnings.

She accused the school and the reserve operators of being negligent in their supervision and duty of care towards her son, in a writ lodged this week in the County Court.

“We allege that the school failed to adequately supervise Junpeng”

Ms Tan says she now suffers a major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, shock and anxiety and unresolved grief following the unexpected and tragic death of her only child.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Dimi Ioannou said her client was “devastated” over her son’s death, which they believe was preventable.

“We allege that the school failed to adequately supervise, protect and take proper care of Junpeng,” Ms Ioannou told the Herald Sun.

“We also allege that the operators of the camp failed to ensure as far as was reasonably practicable that the premises was safe and without risks or hazards that were likely to cause unnecessary injury or death.”