Vue fined £750,000 after cinema-goer crushed to death by seat

Credit: PA

Cinema chain Vue Entertainment Ltd has been fined £750,000 for healthand safety breaches at its venue in Star City in connection with the death of customer Ateeq Rafiq.

The 24-year old died after his neck became trapped in his Gold Class seat's electric footrest as he searched for his phone and keys.

Cinema chain, Vue, has previously admitted failures in health and safety after desperate attempts were made to release Mr Rafiq but he suffered "catastrophic" injuries from the accident in March 2018.

Vue Entertainment Ltd admitted two charges at Birmingham Crown Court under the Health and Safety at Work Act in April 2021.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons were not exposed to risk to their health and safety and failing to make a suitable and safe risk assessment between January 1st 2007 and March 9th 2018 in relation to the use of powered cinema seating.

Credit: ITV News Central

Paramedics arrived and Mr Rafiq was taken to Heartlands Hospital where he died on March 16th after suffering a hypoxic brain injury due to a lack of oxygen being supplied to the brain.

A week-long inquest was told the seat was missing a bar that would have allowed him to be released by hand.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Birmingham Coroner Emma Brown said there had been “missed opportunities to undertake comprehensive safety checks of the chairs”.

"He got up off his seat with the footrest in the raised position and went under the seat," she said.

"Very quickly the footrest started to come down on him."

Star City, Vue Credit: BPM

In a statement, Vue Cinemas said:

They went on to say:

"All recliners of the type involved in the incident have been removed from our cinemas and we have taken all possible steps to learn from this and ensure it could not happen again"

  • Report by Andy Bevan following the inquest in 2019.

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