Indian restaurant owner jailed for death of allergy customer with peanut curry
Zaman, 52, was found guilty by the Teeside Crown Court jury for the tragic death of customer Paul Wilson who suffered from severe anaphylactic shock and was found dead in his bathroom after eating chicken tikka masala made with peanut-powder. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can develop rapidly and should always be treated as a medical emergency, according to the NHS.
Zaman has been jailed for manslaughter by gross negligence. The restaurant-owner has also been found guilty of six food offences.
Zaman had previously claimed negligence but the jury found that Paul Wilson had explicitly mentioned his allergy and asked for a “no nut” curry in his takeaway order. His takeaway dish was even marked as “no nuts” but it contained peanut powder which killed Wilson in January 2014.
According to the court, Wilson, a bar manager from Helperby, North Yorkshire, had ordered a chicken tikka masala with special instructions. But Indian Garden’s owner’s “reckless and cavalier attitude” to customers’ health resulted in Wilson’s death. The court heard that the allergy instruction was specified even on the lid of Wilson’s takeaway dish to falsely assure Wilson, the court heard.
The court heard that Zaman put profits before safety of his customers and had switched from using almond powder in his dishes to cheaper peanut powder alternative and had employed untrained staff in his kitchen to cut costs.
Zaman, father of four, owns multiple restaurants and Wilson’s allergy is not the only reported incident retaing to his restaurants. Another customer with peanut allergy suffered a reaction that required hospitalization after eating at one of Zaman’s restaurants.
According to the jury, the tragic death of Paul Wilson should send a strong warning to the food and takeaway businesses to take allergy instructions seriously and raise awareness among its staff to treat allergy requests seriously and with compassion.
Wilson’s parents recall how he loved Indian curries and always made sure to give clear instructions to restaurants when placing an order for takeaways.
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