News ID: 301962
Published: 0621 GMT April 07, 2021

Vue admits failures over cinemagoer crushed to death

Vue admits failures over cinemagoer crushed to death

Vue cinemas admitted failures in health and safety after a filmgoer died when his neck got trapped in an electronic footrest.

Ateeq Rafiq, 24, suffered “catastrophic” injuries at the StarCity entertainment complex in Birmingham in 2018 when his head and neck became trapped under his seat as he searched for his phone and keys after watching a movie.

Vue Entertainment Ltd. admitted two charges at Birmingham crown court under the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Guardian wrote.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure persons were not exposed to risk to their health and safety, and failing to make a suitable and safe risk assessment between January 1, 2007 and March 9, 2018 in relation to the use of powered cinema seating, BirminghamLive reported.

A previous inquest in 2019 recorded a verdict of accidental death, with the jury foreman ruling there had been “missed opportunities to undertake comprehensive safety checks of the chairs,” according to the BBC.

Rafiq, a father of one from Aston, Birmingham, visited the cinema at StarCity with his wife on March 9, 2018 and bought tickets for gold-class seats.

As he searched under the seat his keys or phone, the footrest started to come down on him and his wife, Ayesha Sardar, attempted to hold it up when she realized what was happening.

Sardar alerted staff, who spent 10-15 minutes trying to release Rafiq as they could not get the buttons that operate the footrest to work.

The week-long inquest was told the seat was missing a bar that would have enabled the footrest to be lifted by hand.



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