Megan Lee: Takeaway bosses jailed over allergy death

  • Published
Harun Rashid (left) and Mohammed Kuddus (right)Image source, PA
Image caption,
Harun Rashid (left) and Mohammed Abdul Kuddus both denied causing Megan Lee's death

A takeaway owner and manager, who caused a teenage girl's death by sending her a meal containing peanuts, have been jailed for manslaughter.

Megan Lee, 15, suffered irreversible brain damage after having an allergic reaction to food from Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, in 2016.

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus and Harun Rashid were found guilty in October.

At Manchester Crown Court earlier, Kuddus was jailed for two years and Rashid for three.

In sentencing, 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".

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Megan Lee died two days after she was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital

Judge Yip said the takeaway had no systems or processes to manage allergen control.

She said she hoped "the message is heard" that food suppliers who fail to take proper care "will face significant custodial sentences if a death results".

After the verdicts in October, Megan's father Adam warned takeaway owners "do not play Russian roulette with precious lives".

Judge Yip added: "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."

Image caption,
Royal Spice was closed down following Megan's death but later reopened under new ownership

She added that Kuddus and Rashid, both fathers, had expressed genuine remorse.

She told them: "Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone. It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl.

"You must now live with the guilt of what you have done and the suffering you have caused Megan's family and to your own families."

Never be the same

Owner Kuddus, 40, of Belper Street, Blackburn, had admitted two health and safety charges on behalf of himself and the takeaway, but both he and Rashid, 38, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, denied manslaughter.

Their trial heard Megan suffered an acute asthma attack after eating food from Royal Spice on 30 December 2016, which her friend had ordered with a note reading "prawns, nuts" to show her allergies.

She died two days later in hospital.

The teenager's meal, which included an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan, was found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.

In a statement read outside court after the verdicts, Mr Lee and his wife Gemma said their lives would never be the same after Megan's death.

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