UK restaurant owner guilty of manslaughter after customer died from peanut allergy

Paul Wilson suffered a severe anaphylactic shock

Paul Wilson, peanut allergy, anaphylactic shock, restaurant owner, manslaughter, Mohammed Zaman

File photo of restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman, who has been convicted at Teesside Crown Court | Image: Tom Wilkinson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The owner of a British curry house where a customer died eating food containing peanuts has been sentenced to six years in jail for causing the man's death.

Mohammed Zaman was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence when a customer with a severe peanut allergy died after eating a takeaway - even though the diner had insisted his meal must be nut-free.

Paul Wilson suffered a severe anaphylactic shock after ordering the meal from the Indian Garden restaurant in North Yorkshire.

Teesside Crown Court was told that Zaman "put profit before safety" by failing to warn customers with allergies that he was using peanut ingredients.

A prosecutor said the owner had a "reckless and cavalier attitude to risk" and had been warned by a trading standards officer to change his business' practices only a week before Mr Wilson died in January 2014.

Mr Wilson (38) was found dead by a flatmate at their home, and when police began to investigate his death, they discovered "no nuts" had been written on the lid of his curry - as well as on the order slip back at the restaurant.

The court was also told that, in the weeks before Mr Wilson's death, a teenage girl had been treated in hospital for an allergic reaction caused by the peanuts in a curry ordered from another restaurant owned by Zaman.

"Totally avoidable"

She had been assured by the restaurant's staff that her meal would be free of nuts, the jury heard.

Zaman, who owned six restaurants in York and North Yorkshire, was almost stg£300,000 (€387,610) in debt and cut costs by using the cheaper ingredient and by employing untrained, illegal workers, the court was told.

Groundnut powder in the kitchen of the Indian Garden was found to have contaminated other ingredients.

Zaman was also found guilty of six food safety offences but not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

He claimed that he left a manager in charge of ordering stock and was not on the premises when the curry was sold.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Shaun Page said Mr Wilson's death should have been "totally avoidable".

Mr Wilson's mother Margaret called on restaurants to take notice of what had happened to her son.

She asked owners "to be aware, not just take it lightly, that when somebody goes in for food and says 'I've an allergy', to be aware of that and follow that through, to the letter".