Vue cinema chain fined £750,000 following foot-rest fatality

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Cinema operator The Vue has been fined £750,000 after a customer was crushed to death at one of its venues in Birmingham three years ago.

The firm must also pay £130,000 in costs over an incident which Judge Heidi Kubik QC called “an accident that should never have happened”.

Ateeq Rafiq was crushed by a motorised footrest at the Star City cinema in Birmingham in March. He suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries after a force that the Health and Safety Executive described as the equivalent of three-quarters of a tonne came down on him.

An inquest heard how the cinema seat was missing a bar that would’ve allowed the victim to be released by hand.

Vue Entertainment pleaded guilty of failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment and failing to ensure the safety of visitors to the cinema.

Judge Kubik 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.”

The prosecution was brought by Birmingham City Council, which was supported by the Health and Safety Executive.