Indian restaurant owner jailed for six years for killing peanut allergy sufferer with curry

Paul Wilson (l) died after eating a curry from the restaurant owned by Mohammed Zaman (r). Credit: Police handout/SWNS

A restaurant owner has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of killing a customer who died from an allergic reaction to a curry.

Debt-ridden Mohammed Zaman, 52, used cheaper groundnut mix - which contained peanuts - rather than almond powder as a way of cutting costs.

But he failed to warn customers and Paul Wilson, 38, who suffered from a severe peanut allergy died after eating a takeaway from Zaman's restaurant.

Zaman was convicted of Wilson's manslaughter by gross negligence and six food safety offences at Teesside Crown Court.

The case is thought to be a legal first which sets a precedent for food suppliers.

  • Victim requested nut-free curry

Paul Wilson, 38, died after eating a takeaway curry. Credit: Police handout

Pub manager Paul Wilson had carefully managed his condition since he discovered he had a peanut allergy after eating a Marathon chocolate bar aged seven.

He insisted his chicken tikka masala must be nut-free when he placed his order at The Indian Garden restaurant in Easingwold, North Yorkshire on January 30th 2014.

His request had been written on the lid of his curry as well as on the order slip at the restaurant.

But Zaman ran a business which deliberately cut corners "for the sake of profit" and left customers "constantly exposed to danger".

Mr Wilson went into anaphylactic shock and was found slumped in the toilet of his home in Helperby, North Yorkshire, hours later.

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

  • Zaman's 'reckless and cavalier attitude to risk'

Zaman's restaurant. Credit: SWNS

Zaman cut corners because he was almost £300,000 in debt and was desperate to save money, the court heard.

In June 2013, he met with his supplier and asked him to replace almond powder with groundnut powder - a cheaper alternative.

The supplier told Zaman that he would have to change the warnings on his menu but the restaurant owner ignored him.

  • Mum's heartbreak

Paul Wilson's mother told ITV Calendar of her heartbreak at not being there to help her son.

"My regret is that I wasn't there," Margaret said tearfully.

"Even if I couldn't have done anything - just to think he was there on his own."

She also revealed her son's last words to her and her husband shortly before his death.

"His last words were:' I love you both - talk tomorrow'".

  • Previous incident 'ignored'

Weeks before Mr Wilson's death, 17-year-old student Ruby Scott, who also had a peanut allergy, fell seriously ill after eating from another of Zaman's restaurants.

She was assured by staff that the meal would not contain peanuts.

Her mother, Marianne, told ITV News that when she went to see her daughter in the hospital she "didn't recognise her".

Tragically for Paul Wilson, Zaman "ignored all of the warnings he was given" and continued to sell meals containing peanuts without notifying allergy sufferers.

  • 'Clear message sent to catering industry'

Speaking after the verdict, Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: