A “reckless” Indian restaurant owner has been jailed for six years for the manslaughter of a customer who died from an allergic reaction to a curry.
Mohammed Zaman, 52, switched almond powder for a cheaper ground nut mix, containing peanuts, the court heard.
The restaurant owner, from Huntingdon, denied charges of manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice and six food safety offences. A jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of all but perverting the course of justice.
Paul Wilson, 38, who was “meticulous” about his nut allergy had ordered a nut-free takeaway from the Indian Garden in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, one of Mr Zaman’s six restaurants. He suffered a fatal anaphylactic shock caused by nuts in the curry.
Richard Wright QC, for the prosecution, said: “His was a reckless and cavalier attitude to risk and one that we, the prosecution, would describe as grossly negligent”.
Detective Inspector Shaun Page described Mr Wilson’s death as “totally avoidable” and that Zaman’s “lack of remorse” had been striking.
“And trying to distance himself from any involvement in his death. That had struck me through this investigation. His lack of compassion and understanding about that he's actually done.
“Zaman had a duty of care to serve safe food. He has breached that duty to a criminal standard.”
De Insp Page added that he thought the case to be a legal first that would set a precedent for the food industry.
Mr Wilson’s tragic death came three weeks after that of a different customer with a peanut allergy who bought a meal from one of Mr Zaman’s restaurants.
Martin Goldman, chief crown prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “If you ignore your responsibilities and regulations and put lives at real risk then we will not hesitate to prosecute.”