The Vue cinema chain has reportedly been fined after one of its customers got trapped in one of its reclining chairs and was killed.
Ateeq Rafiq, 24, was trying to find his phone after it fell between the premium ‘Gold Class’ seats in Star City leisure complex, Birmingham, when his neck became trapped under the footrest of the electric chair, and he suffered a cardiac arrest.
The courts heard how he had the weight of three-quarters of a tonne forced on his neck, causing a heart attack triggered by a lack of oxygen to the brain, reports BBC.
Ateeq’s wife, Ayesha Sardar, and cinema staff tried to free him and eventually, they managed to remove the footrest.
The dad of two was rushed to hospital but sadly, he died a week later as a result of the ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
On July 20, Vue Entertainment Ltd was fined at Birmingham Crown Court, as well as ordered to pay £130,000 in costs.
The chain, which has admitted health and safety failings, made the following statement: “The death of Mr Rafiq saddened everybody at Vue and we remain deeply sorry for the loss suffered by his family and friends.”
“We hope that the end of these proceedings brings some closure to them following this tragic accident.
“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.”
Judge Heidi Kubik QC described Mr Rafiq’s death as ‘an accident that never should have happened’.
She said: “Nothing I can say can ameliorate the loss suffered by his wife and family.”
“It is conceded that clearly a number of members of the public were exposed to the same risk of harm.”
“The complete lack of a risk assessment was a significant cause of the actual harm that resulted.”
According to The Scottish Sun, Ateeq’s wife paid tribute to her husband during the inquest, saying: “He was a loving father, son, husband and friend, he was always happy and took every day as it came.”
“He had a brilliant sense of humour. His smile was the greatest.”
Words by Emily Brewster
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