Curry house owner jailed for six years over death of Sheffield man with peanut allergy

Mohammed Zaman, who has been convicted at Teesside Crown Court of the manslaughter of allergy sufferer Paul Wilson
Mohammed Zaman, who has been convicted at Teesside Crown Court of the manslaughter of allergy sufferer Paul Wilson
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A restaurant owner has been jailed for six years over the death of a Sheffield man with a peanut allergy.

Restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter over the death of 38-year-old Paul Wilson, who suffered a severe reaction after eating a curry.

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson

Jurors at Teeside Crown Court heard Zaman had a 'cavalier attitude' to safety and despite Mr Wilson requesting 'no nuts' when he ordered his food at the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire, his chicken tikka masala takeaway contained peanuts.

Mr Wilson, a bar manager, died in his home in Helperby, North Yorkshire, in January 2014 after suffering an anaphylactic shock.

Jurors heard Zaman, who owned six restaurants in York and North Yorkshire, swapped almond powder in recipes for cheaper groundnut mix, containing peanuts, despite warnings.

He was almost £300,000 in debt and cut costs by using the cheaper ingredient and by employing untrained, illegal workers.

Undated handout photo issued by North Yorkshire Police of Keith and Margaret Wilson with their son Paul Wilson, who died after eating a takeaway curry from the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire, despite telling staff he could not eat nuts, as restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman has been convicted of his manslaughter. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday May 23, 2016. See PA story COURTS Takeaway. Photo credit should read: North Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Undated handout photo issued by North Yorkshire Police of Keith and Margaret Wilson with their son Paul Wilson, who died after eating a takeaway curry from the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire, despite telling staff he could not eat nuts, as restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman has been convicted of his manslaughter. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday May 23, 2016. See PA story COURTS Takeaway. Photo credit should read: North Yorkshire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Mr Wilson died three weeks after a teenager customer at another of Zaman's restaurants suffered an allergic reaction which required hospital treatment.

She had been assured her meal would not contain nuts.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said Zaman had made a success of himself since coming to this country more than 40 years ago, building up his businesses and gathering a property portfoilio worth more than £2 million.

“You threw all that away,” the judge told the defendant.

Keith and Margaret Wilson, whose son Paul Wilson died after eating a takeaway curry from the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire,

Keith and Margaret Wilson, whose son Paul Wilson died after eating a takeaway curry from the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire,

“You have done so in pursuit of profit.

“You have done so in such a manner as to bring about the death of another individual.

“Paul Wilson was in the prime of his life.

“He, like you, worked in the catering trade. He, unlike you, was a careful man.”

The case against Zaman is believed to be a legal first which sets a precedent for food suppliers.

The prosecution said the owner had 'put profit before safety' at the restaurants he owned.

Zaman, from Huntington, York, denied manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice and six food safety offences.

He was found guilty of all charges except perverting course of justice.

He claimed he left managers to run his restaurants and that included ordering stock and hiring staff. He said he was not on the premises when the curry was sold.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said Mr Wilson had told staff that his meal must be nut-free.

He said the restaurant had written 'no nuts' on his order and on the lid of his curry.

Mr Wright said: "Mohammed Zaman 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."

Police and trading standards launched an investigation following Mr Wilson's death.

Groundnut powder was found in the kitchen of the Indian Garden and had contaminated other ingredients. And a test purchaser went to the Indian Garden the day after Mr Wilson's death and was assured by a staff member that they could buy a nut-free curry.

Mr Wilson's parents Keith and Margaret, from Sheffield, said their son had carefully managed his condition since he was seven when he had a reaction to a Marathon chocolate bar.

He loved curry but was always clear when ordering that his food must not contain nuts, his mum said.

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