Lancashire

Megan Lee: Takeaway boss's allergy death conviction quashed

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

A takeaway owner who was jailed for the manslaughter of a schoolgirl who suffered an allergic reaction to a meal has won an appeal against his conviction.

Megan Lee, 15, suffered irreversible brain damage after eating food from Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, in 2016.

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus was jailed for two years after a trial in November.

But Court of Appeal judges have quashed his "unsafe" conviction.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan and a friend ordered a meal online from the takeaway on 30 December 2016, and wrote "prawns, nuts" to highlight her allergies.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mohammed Kuddus was convicted of manslaughter in November

The trial at Manchester Crown Court heard Megan suffered an acute asthma attack and died two days later in hospital.

The teenager's meal was found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.

Kuddus, the chef and sole director of the takeaway, was convicted of manslaughter along with manager Harun Rashid, who had previously sold the business to him.

Three judges in London allowed an appeal by Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, ruling that his manslaughter conviction "cannot stand".

Sir Brian Leveson said Megan's order, including the comment about nuts and prawns, was seen by Rashid.

But there was "no evidence" Kuddus was aware of it so "in those circumstances, the conviction for gross negligence manslaughter cannot stand".

He said the case against Kuddus, who spoke little English and had only taken over the restaurant the previous year, was based "solely upon his failure to introduce appropriate systems at a time when he knew nothing of prospective customers' allergies", and there was "no evidence that he was at any stage notified of Megan's allergy".

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, was jailed for three years.

He was convicted of manslaughter, which he had denied, and health and safety and food safety offences which he had admitted.

Sir Brian said no application had been made for a retrial against him on the manslaughter charge.

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