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Takeaway bosses guilty after teenage girl, 15, died from nut allergy following meal

Rashid and Kuddus and the victim Megan Lee (PA)
Rashid and Kuddus and the victim Megan Lee (PA)

Two takeaway bosses have been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a teenage girl died following an allergic reaction after ordering food.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee, 15, died after eating food from the Royal Spice Takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, on December 30 2016.

On Friday, a jury at Manchester Crown Court found takeaway owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38, who was alleged to be the manager, guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The eight men and four women took about six hours of deliberations to reach their verdicts.

Megan died two days after eating the food (PA)
Megan died two days after eating the food (PA)

Family members of Megan were in tears in the public gallery as the two men, who are both Bangladeshi nationals, were found guilty.

The court heard Megan’s friend ordered the meal through the Just Eat website and wrote ‘prawns, nuts’ in the comments and notes section.

But 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.

Megan had an immediate reaction to the kebab and died two days later after suffering irreversible brain damage from a later asthma attack.

Rashid (l) and Kuddus arriving at Manchester Crown Court during the trial (PA)
Rashid (l) and Kuddus arriving at Manchester Crown Court during the trial (PA)

Following her death a police inquiry was launched and later on January 6 the restaurant was immediately closed down by Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court her death was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.

It was alleged there was a ‘litany of failings’ in the kitchen including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept.

The takeaway has since reopened under new ownership.

The two men were released on bail to be sentenced on November 7.

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, who had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the time, was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

He was also convicted of another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations.

Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, had already pleaded guilty to those two charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of the Royal Spice Takeaway.