Yorkshire restaurant owner jailed for peanut allergy death of customer

Mohammed Zaman
Mohammed Zaman

The owner of an Indian restaurant has been described as “reckless and cavalier” and been sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter following the death of a customer with peanut allergy.

Mohammed Zaman, the owner of the Indian Garden in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, was told by the judge that he “put profit before safety” when his takeaway prepared a curry with nuts for customer Paul Wilson,
even though he had specified he was allergic to nuts.

Mr Wilson was found dead in his bathroom after eating a chicken tikka masala which contained peanuts. The lid of his meal had “no nuts” written on it. However, 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.

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.”

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.