Restaurant owner given 6 years jail for peanut death

THE owner of an Indian restaurant has been jailed for six years after he was found guilty of manslaughter following the death of a customer with a peanut allergy.

Bar manager Paul Wilson had informed the curry house of his allergy, but was later found dead in his bathroom after eating a takeaway curry prepared with nuts.  

Teeside Crown Court heard how Mohammed Zaman, the owner of the Indian Garden in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, took a "reckless and cavalier attitude to risk" and "put profit before safety".

Despite ordering a meal with "no nuts" and the request being clearly marked on the lid of his meal, Mr Wilson was given a chicken tikka masala which contained peanuts.

Lawyers for the prosecution said Zaman had replaced almond powder with groundnut mix, made from peanuts, to cut costs at the restaurants he owned.

Mr Wilson, 38, had a fatal anaphylactic shock at his home in Helperby, North Yorkshire, in January 2014.

He died three weeks after a teenage customer at another of Zaman's six restaurants suffered an allergic reaction which required hospital treatment.

Zaman had told the court he employed managers to run his restaurants, and it was not his decision to ask suppliers to change the order from almond powder to groundnut powder.

He denied manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice and six food safety offences.

But outside court, Detective Inspector Shaun Page said Mr Wilson's death was "totally avoidable".

Rihard Wright QC, prosecuting, said Zaman had "received numerous warnings that he was putting his customers' health, and potentially their lives, at risk".

"Tragically for Paul Wilson, Mohammed Zaman took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given.

"His was a reckless and cavalier attitude to risk and one that we, the prosecution, would describe as grossly negligent."

Mr Wright added: "Time and again he ignored the danger and did not protect his customers.

"The evidence will establish that Mohammed Zaman put profit before safety and that he cut corners at every turn."

Zaman was found guilty of all charges except perverting course of justice, in a case which is thought to be a legal first and sets a precedent for food suppliers.

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