By James Simons-
A takeaway owner and manager has been jailed for manslaughter after causing a teenage girl’s death by giving her a meal containing peanuts. The teenage girl made her allergies known in advance to the firm but that did not stop the takeaway management making the fatal error of serving her food that she was allergic to.
15 year old Megan Lee died after suffering irreversible brain damage after having an allergic reaction to food from Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, in 2016. Mohammed Abdul Kuddus and Harun Rashid were found guilty in October.
At Manchester Crown Court, 40 year old Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, and 38 year old manager Harun Rashid, were found guilty of unlawfully killing Megan, from Oswaldtwistle, by reason of gross negligence. The two-week trial heard there was a ‘litany of failings’ in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept. In short, they were a lousy bunch of unhygienic individuals.
Five days after Megan’s death on January, 1 2017 , the restaurant was immediately closed down following an inspection by Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers.
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Yip told them Megan was responsible enough to highlight her alle
rgies when placing the order but “sadly the same responsibility was not at your end”. Judge Yip said the takeaway had no systems or processes to manage allergen control.
She said she hoped “the message is heard” that food suppliers who fail to take proper care “will face significant custodial sentences if a death results”.
After the verdicts in October, Megan’s father Adam warned takeaway owners “do not play Russian roulette with precious lives”. Judge Yip added: “Like Mr and Mrs Lee, I hope that this tragic case adds to the growing awareness in the food industry of what can happen if allergies are not taken seriously.”
Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, who had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the restaurant at the time, was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations
Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, admitted those charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway Ltd, trading as Royal Spice Takeaway, and was given two years.
Photograph: Press Association