Collier Row dad faced losing leg after false widow spider bite

08:00 11 October 2013

Ricki Whitmore with his son Ricki Junior and daughter Olivia

Ricki Whitmore with his son Ricki Junior and daughter Olivia


A deadly spider left a dad-of-two facing the possibility of losing his leg.

Collier Row man Ricki Whitmore was nipped by a potentially deadly false widow spider after finding a nest at a school in Chelmsford he was renovating.When the 39-year-old swept the spiders away, one of them leapt at him and sunk its teeth into his leg, which then filled with posion.

Ricki was rushed to Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way where he was placed on an antibiotics drip.

His dad David is staying at Ricki’s house while he recuperates at his brother’s in Sheerness, Kent, to avoid distressing his children - Olivia, Stanley and Rickie Jr.

David said: “I was totally shocked to be honest. It’s not something you expect to happen in this country.

“It’s horrendous and makes me feel quite sick. We all hope he gets better really quickly.

“We’re just glad he’s ok and it could have been worse.”

His wife Carrie Ann, 36, admitted it was a terrifying experience to find out he might have to have his leg amputated.

Last week, we reported how sightings in Havering were on the increase - including by teacher Rachel Warry, who caught one of the insects in a Hornchurch school in August.

A nurse visits Ricki every day to dress and clean his wounds and he will need six months of specialist physiotherapy to be able to walk again. The venom destroyed a lot of the muscle in his thigh.

A week after he first went into hospital, Carrie discovered his stitches had burst and pus was oozing out of his leg.

Doctors were confused about why a seemingly routine spider bite was causing so much trouble until they got a description of the culprit, and realised it must have been a false widow.

It is now estimated there are 10 million false widows on the loose in Britain.

They usually only bite when they feel threatened and no one has died from a false widow spider bite in the UK - bites are unlikely to be fatal unless the victim is allergic to their venom.

Turn to page 18 to read about more of the venomous creepy crawlies being spotted in Havering - and if you’ve spotted any of them out and about, let us know by e-mailing


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