Takeaway bosses found guilty after 15-year-old girl died from allergic reaction to meal

Megan Lee, 15, suffered an allergic reaction after ordering food from the Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire.

Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38, were today found guilty of her death.

The teenager died days after she had an immediate reaction to a seekh kebab and suffered irreversible brain damage from a later asthma attack.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court also found Rashid guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

And of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations.

Kuddus had already pleaded guilty to those two charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of the Royal Spice Takeaway Ltd.

The trial heard Megan suffered an allergic reaction to food ordered from the Royal Spice, in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, on December 30 2016 and died two days later.

Megan's friend ordered through the Just Eat website and wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section, but the meal was later found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.

Her family were in tears in the public gallery as the verdicts were read out on Thursday afternoon.

In a statement read outside court, Megan's parents Adam and Gemma Lee said: "Our lives will never be the same. The loss of our beautiful daughter has completely devastated us.

"Megan's positive presence and infectious smile will forever be missed.

"It breaks our hearts that Megan didn't get the chance to sit her GCSE exams, something she had worked so incredibly hard for, to celebrate her 16th birthday or go to the school prom with her friends.

"Megan didn't get the opportunity to fulfil her ambition of working in musical theatre, to explore the world, fall in love or have children of her own.

"It's these thoughts that cause great sadness, because nobody deserved it more than Megan."

Reading the statement, Mr Lee said: "Megan's legacy is to be kind, considerate, to be helpful to others.

"We will continue to work with the Anaphylaxis Campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of allergies.

"Whilst we may have received some justice with today's verdicts, we live in hope that today's result is a warning to other food businesses operating in such a deplorable and ignorant manner to learn from this and improve their standards with immediate effect.

"We urge all food businesses to improve their standards in food safety and take allergies seriously."

He added: "Do not guess, do not play ignorant, do not play Russian roulette with precious lives."

Judge Mrs Justice Yip bailed both men until November 7, when they and the company will be sentenced.

She said: "The fact that I am granting bail shouldn't be taken as any indication there should be a non-custodial sentence.

"You need to prepare yourselves for a custodial sentence."


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