Bengal Spice restaurant in Coventry was ‘death trap’, judge said

A greedy couple ran a ‘death trap’ curry house in Coventry, putting profits before safety, a court has heard.

An inspection of the Bengal Spice restaurant on Corporation Street revealed a catalog of fire safety violations.

The fire alarm system was in poor condition, the extinguisher had not been tested for six years, and the fire doors were locked open.

On the second floor, which served as accommodation, there were no smoke detectors, fire alarms or even electricity.

Mohammed Uddin and Monowara Begum, who both ran the restaurant, pleaded guilty in Warwick Crown Court in Leamington to 12 counts of violating fire regulations.

Uddin, 48, and Begum, 38, both of Stoney Stanton Road, Foleshill, also admitted two more serious charges of failing to comply with a prohibition notice issued after the inspection which restricted the use of the first , second and third floors.

Uddin, who was said to be primarily responsible for the offenses, was sentenced to eight months in prison – which the judge suspended due to his ill health.

But he was also ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid labor and pay the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service prosecution fee of £ 12,235.50 within six months.

Begum, owner of the restaurant run by her husband, was jailed for three months, suspended for two years.

Sentencing the couple, Judge Alan Parker told them: “These premises were a fire trap and, in the words of the prosecution, a death trap.

“You have shown complete disregard for the notice of execution, arrogant and callous disregard.

“You, Mr. Uddin, were quite willing to put people in danger of death just to enrich yourself. “

Defending Tariq Shakoor said Bengal Spice was trading at a loss and one of the couple’s children had taken over his management, while Uddin now works as a chef.

“The blame in all of this seems to be shifted largely to Mr Uddin, and it seems to be a very deplorable state of affairs that paints a potentially dangerous picture.

“But Mr Uddin had serious health problems in the year before that and suffered heart attacks in 2010 and 2011,” said Mr Shakoor, who added that Begum was not guilty to the same degree as Uddin.

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Freeda S. Scott

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