Restaurateur on Trial Over Deadly Curry

Prosecutors say he subbed in peanuts to save money, never told customers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2016 8:25 PM CDT
Restaurateur on Trial Over Deadly Curry
File photo of chicken curry.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

A most unusual manslaughter trial is unfolding in the UK, one that revolves around "death by curry," as a post at Munchies puts it. Prosecutors accuse restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman of subbing in peanuts for almonds in his ground mix to save money and deliberately concealing the switch to customers, reports the BBC. That proved deadly for 38-year-old Paul Wilson of North Yorkshire, who picked up a take-out order from Indian Garden from in Easingwold and later died after going into anaphylactic shock. Wilson suffered from a severe peanut allergy, something he pointed out to the staff—the words "no nuts" were written on the lid of his order. A few weeks before his death, a 17-year-old girl nearly died after eating food from another one of Zaman's restaurants, reports the Telegraph. When her mother called afterward to ask whether it contained peanuts, she was told it did not, say prosecutors.

After that incident, an inspector found a box of ground peanuts in a kitchen of one of Zaman's restaurants and ordered that all of his customers be informed about its use, something that allegedly never happened. "Mohammed Zaman received numerous warnings that he was putting his customers’ health, and potentially their lives, at risk," says a prosecutor, per the Yorkshire Post. "His was a reckless and cavalier attitude to risk and one that we, the prosecution, would describe as grossly negligent.” Zaman, strapped for cash, allegedly told his food supplier to sub in peanuts in order to cut his cost in half, then ignored the supplier's demand that he inform customers of the change. He has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge. (A California couple says they were booted from their flight over their son's peanut allergy.)

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