Megan Lee manslaughter trial: Jury considers verdict in takeaway nut allergy case

Megan Lee
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The jury in the trial of two takeaway workers accused of the manslaughter of a 15-year-old girl with a nut allergy has retired to consider its verdicts.

Teenager Megan Lee suffered an allergic reaction after eating food from the Royal Spice Takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, on December 30 2016.

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Manchester Crown Court has heard her friend wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section when ordering food through the Just Eat website, but the meal she was served was later found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.

The takeaway's owner, Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and Harun Rashid, 38 - alleged to be the manager, deny manslaughter by gross negligence.

The jury of eight men and four women was sent out to consider its verdicts just after 2pm on Thursday.

Following Megan's death on January 1 2017, two days after eating the meal including an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan, a police inquiry was launched and later on January 6 the restaurant was immediately closed down by Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court her death was a "disaster waiting to happen".

It was alleged there was a "litany of failings" in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept.

Giving evidence, Rashid denied he was the manager of the restaurant and claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the time.

Kuddus, who is said not to speak English, chose not to give evidence during trial.

Simon Myerson QC, defending Kuddus, said Megan's death was "unpredictable" and could not have been foreseen.

Judge Mrs Justice Yip told jurors they would have to consider whether the note on the order was sufficient to mean Megan's allergy was declared.

She said: "It is a matter of interpretation, and so a matter for you, whether that was enough to put the business on notice of Megan's allergy to nuts."

Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, has admitted a count of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations.

He also entered guilty pleas to the same offences on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway Limited, trading as Royal Spice.

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, has pleaded not guilty to those charges.