Two takeaway bosses are jailed over 15-year-old allergic diner

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6362753/Two-takeaway-bosses-40-38-jailed-15-year-old-diner-severe-nut-allergy.html

A grief-stricken mother whose daughter died from an allergic reaction to an Indian takeaway said the men responsible for her death ‘played Russian roulette with her life’.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. 

Megan and her friend ordered online via the Just Eat website two days earlier and wrote ‘prawns, nuts’ in the comments and notes section.

However the meal, which included an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan, was later found to have the ‘widespread presence’ of peanut protein.

Speaking as two men were convicted of her manslaughter, the 15-year-old’s parents vowed to raise awareness of the dangers of allergies and warned those in the food industry to ‘not play Russian roulette with precious lives’.

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Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire 

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire 

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire 

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus

Harun Rashid

Harun Rashid

Restaurant owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus (left) and manager Harun Rashid (pictured right)

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38, arrive for sentencing at Manchester Crown Court

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38, arrive for sentencing at Manchester Crown Court

Adam and Gemma Lee

Adam and Gemma Lee

Kuddus (left) and Rashid arrive for sentencing at Manchester Crown Court. the hearing was also attended by Megan’s parents Adam and Gemma (right)

Restaurant owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and manager Harun Rashid, 38, were jailed at Manchester Crown Court today for two and three years respectively. 

Megan’s mother Gemma Lee, 34, said she, her husband Adam, 36, and son Owen, 8, had only sat down together once for a meal due to the ’empty chair at the table’.

Mrs Lee had twice gave Megan the kiss of life and carried out chest compression as the youngster lay dying in her bedroom.

Megan was rushed to hospital but died two days later with tests revealing she had suffered an allergic reaction to traces of nuts in the meal. 

Mr and Mrs Lee read out a moving joint statement to a hushed courtroom as the two men listened from the dock. 

Mrs Lee told Manchester Crown Court: ‘Losing her has turned our lives into something we cannot describe and we have never felt pain like it.  

Megan's mother Gemma Lee (pictured) said she, her husband Adam, 36, and son Owen, 8, had only sat down together once for a meal due to the 'empty chair at the table'

Megan's mother Gemma Lee (pictured) said she, her husband Adam, 36, and son Owen, 8, had only sat down together once for a meal due to the 'empty chair at the table'

Megan’s mother Gemma Lee (pictured) said she, her husband Adam, 36, and son Owen, 8, had only sat down together once for a meal due to the ’empty chair at the table’


Five days after Megan’s death in January 2017, the restaurant (pictured) was immediately closed down following an inspection by Trading Standards and hygiene officers

‘We remember the day we came home from hospital and knowing we could not do anything for Megan.

‘Owen could not understand why this had happened and begged to have her home. We are to this day still in a state of shock. 

‘The impact of watching his mummy try to save his big sister and wait at the door for the ambulance to arrive will forever be etched in his mind and ours.

‘Our perfect family bubble has been shattered apart, the impact it has had on us has changed our life completely.

‘We struggle from day to day, the fact we could not protect Megan has changed our lives, we question every minute of that day and it is the day our lives turned into a nightmare.’ 

Explaining that Megan’s first love was school life, they said it ‘breaks our hearts’ that she did not get the chance to sit her GCSE exams which she studied so hard for, or go to the school prom after choosing her dress.

Her second love was musical theatre and she had also been denied the opportunity to pursue an ambition to perform in the West End and become an actress.

‘He misses his big sister a lot’: Mother speaks of effect on brother, 8

Megan’s heartbroken parents told Good Morning Britain about the effects the teenager’s death has had on her younger brother Owen.

The eight-year-old witnessed his mother Gemma desperately attempt to revive Megan with CPR after she collapsed at home following her allergic reaction.

Asked by GMB co-presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard how Owen was coping with the loss of his sister, Gemma said: He’s is not coping very well actually, he doesn’t like to be away from us.

‘He’s changed a lot. He used to be an outgoing little boy and now he’s struggling with his emotions, gets upset, and he misses his big sister a lot.’

Talking about his daughter, Megan’s father Adam added: ‘Megan was such a kind and considerate person.

‘We take inspiration from her personality into our lives now.

‘She would help anyone in need, she made friends wherever she went, she would look after and protect her brother.

‘We take inspiration from Megan.’

Rashid was given 10 months in custody, also to run concurrently, for the same offences.

Sentencing the pair, Mrs Justice Yip told them Megan was responsible enough to highlight her allergies when placing the order but ‘sadly the same responsibility was not at your end’.

She said: ‘The Royal Spice had no systems or processes to manage allergen control. The menu contained no information about allergens. No record was kept of the ingredients used in dishes.

‘In short, it appears that no one at the takeaway had any way of knowing what allergens were in the food supplied.’

The court heard there was a ‘litany of failings’ in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept by the Bangladeshi nationals.

Five days after Megan’s death in January 2017, the restaurant was immediately closed down following an inspection by Trading Standards and hygiene officers.

Manager Rashid, of Haslingden, had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the restaurant at the time of the death.

He was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers and another count of failing to put in place proper hygiene procedures.

Kuddus, of Blackburn, had already pleaded guilty to those two charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway Ltd, trading as Royal Spice Takeaway. 

The judge added: ‘It is hoped that the message is heard that those who fail to take proper care in the supply of food to the public will face significant custodial sentences if a death results.

‘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.

‘Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future.’ 

A jury found Kuddus, 40, and Rashid, 38, (pictured at an earlier hearing) guilty of unlawfully killing Megan following a two-week trial in October

A jury found Kuddus, 40, and Rashid, 38, (pictured at an earlier hearing) guilty of unlawfully killing Megan following a two-week trial in October

A jury found Kuddus, 40, and Rashid, 38, (pictured at an earlier hearing) guilty of unlawfully killing Megan following a two-week trial in October

Judge warns food firm bosses who fail to manage allergens could face tougher sentences after she jails takeaway pair over death of 15-year-old girl 

Takeaways and restaurants that take no action to manage allergens could face harsher penalties in the future, said the judge presiding over the case which sentenced two takeaway bosses for the manslaughter of a 15-year-old girl.

Mrs Justice Yip said the risks involved with food allergies ‘have gained prominence’ which they did not have at the time of Megan Lee’s death on New Year’s Eve 2017.

She said: ‘It may well be that a restaurateur who takes no action to manage allergens today would be regarded as blatantly disregarding a high risk.’ 

Jailing Rashid for three years and Kuddus for two years, the judge said: ‘In short, it appears that no one at the takeaway had any way of knowing what allergens were in the food supplied.’

The court heard Rashid’s negligence was greater because he saw the order when it was placed, but ignored Megan’s comment. 

Mrs Justice Yip said: ‘It is hoped that the message is heard that those who fail to take proper care in the supply of food to the public will face significant custodial sentences if a death results.

‘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.

‘Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future.’