The owner of an Indian restaurant and a deliveryman were found guilty of manslaughter after delivering food to a teenage girl who died from the effects of a peanut allergy, the BBC reported. The Manchester Crown Court held Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38, guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. Both men have denied the charge.
Kuddus and Rashid were released on bail on Friday. They will be sentenced on November 7.
Megan Lee, 15, suffered an asthma attack after eating food containing peanuts from the Royal Spice restaurant in Lancashire’s Oswaldtwistle in December 2016. Kuddus owns the restaurant, while Rashid is the deliveryman. The court was told that the food was ordered by Lee’s friend, who had written a note reading “prawns, nuts” to indicate her allergies.
Lee suffered irreversible brain damage after the attack and died on January 1, 2017.
The prosecutor described Lee’s death as a “disaster waiting to happen” due to a “litany of failings” in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no keeping of records of ingredients.
A police inquiry was conducted and five days after Lee’s death, the Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers shut down the restaurant. Later, it opened again under a new management.
The jury also found Rashid guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was also held guilty of failing to implement and maintain a permanent procedure in contravention of European Union food safety regulations.
Lancashire County Council deputy leader Albert Atkinson said, “I would like this to be a warning to all food businesses to make sure they do everything in their power to get food safety right.”