The owner of an Indian restaurant was found guilty Monday of killing one of his customers — after he cut corners whipping up an order of chicken tikka masala.
A jury in Teesside Crown Court in North Yorkshire, England found 52-year-old Mohammed Zaman guilty of manslaughter and gross negligence because he switched out almond powder for a cheaper ground nut mix containing peanuts, according to the BBC.
The switch was deadly for Paul Wilson, 38, who specifically ordered the classic dish from Indian Garden with “no nuts” — the request was even written on the lid of the takeout container — because of his severe peanut allergy.
He went into anaphylactic shock after eating the meal in Jan. 2014 and died at the hospital.
Wilson’s parents testified at the trial that their son was “meticulous” about taking precautions with his life-threatening allergy following his diagnosis when he was just 7.
“He was always very, very careful whenever he was out in a restaurant or working,” his mom, Margaret, said.
His death came just three weeks after another customer was hospitalized for an allergic reaction to the nut mix from one of Zaman’s other restaurants.
Zaman claimed he was not at the restaurant when the fatal error occurred and said he left daily operations including restocking the pantry and hiring new staff to his managers.
The trial also revealed that Zaman was in $434,000 in debt and was cutting costs by subbing the peanut blend for the almond powder as well as hiring illegal workers.
He is set to be sentenced Monday afternoon.
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