After a man was crushed to death by a reclining chair, the Vue theater chain was fined £750,000.


After a man was crushed to death by a reclining chair, the Vue theater chain was fined £750,000.

Vue Entertainment, a cinema business, has been fined £750,000 for the death of a customer whose head and neck were crushed by a reclining chair.

When Ateeq Rafiq bent down to get his phone and keys after watching a movie with his wife, he became caught beneath the electronic footrest. The 24-year-old had 118 stones of pressure placed on his neck by the footrest of his Gold Class seat, according to the court, after which attendants spent 15 minutes attempting to free him.

Workers at the cinema eventually managed to unscrew the chair’s bolts and bring his corpse away, but he suffered a heart attack due to a shortage of oxgyen in his brain.

The event occurred on March 9, 2018, at the Star City leisure complex in Aston, Birmingham, and the young guy died a week later in hospital from a brain damage.

Birmingham City Council began an investigation into what happened, and Vue Entertainment Ltd had previously admitted two counts under the Health and Safety at Work Act at Birmingham Crown Court.

The company was fined £750,000 and told to pay £135,000 in legal fees when it was sentenced in court yesterday.

Mr Rafiq died in “an accident that never should have happened,” Judge Heidi Kubik QC said during the hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

“Nothing I can say can make up for the devastation his wife and family have suffered,” she added.

“I hear that separate actions to determine compensation are underway.

“It was an accident that should never have occurred.

“I would have started at £1.25 million, but when considering mitigating factors, the fact that they have no prior convictions is definitely positive mitigation.”

Due had a “very positive health and safety record,” which Ms Kubik QC took into account when assessing the amount of compensation to be granted.

The entertainment giant neglected to do any risk assessments on the incorrectly installed seat, which constituted a “fatal crush threat,” according to the court.

“Everyone at Vue was grieved by Mr Rafiq’s death, and we remain genuinely sorry for the loss experienced by his family and friends,” Vue added.

“We hope that the conclusion of these proceedings provides them with some closure in the aftermath of this awful catastrophe.

Brinkwire Summary News: “All recliners of the type involved in the incident have been removed.”


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