YO Man Killed By Malfunctioning Luxury Cinema Footrest, Inquest Finds

HORROR Ateeq died after getting his head trapped in a Vue Cinema chair

HORROR Ateeq died after getting his head trapped in a Vue Cinema chair

He'd squeezed all the way underneath the seat in search of his belongings, when a blown fuse meant the electronically-powered footrest of the luxury seat quickly came down on his neck.

Ateeq Rafiq, 24, was with his wife when he became trapped by the "gold class" cinema seat at Birmingham's Star City complex in March previous year.

A cinema-goer died in front of his devastated wife from "catastrophic" injuries after his neck became wedged under an electronic leg-rest, an inquest has heard.

Rafiq was trapped for 15 minutes as his wife and staff members desperately tried to free him, the Coroner's court was told on Thursday.

Desperate attempts were made to release Ateeq Rafiq, 24, but he suffered "catastrophic" injuries in the freak accident at the Star City venue.

Staff eventually managed to free Mr Rafiq by removing a bolt from the seat, which had trapped either the back or right side of his neck.

Emergency services performed CPR before taking him to hospital, where he died a week later.

In a written statement which was read to the court, Mrs Sardar told how her husband realised he had lost his phone and keys at the end of the film.

'I would have thought someone who has to inspect the seats would know there was something wrong with the seat if they couldn't lift the footrest compared to the other seats where they could life the footrests.

The inspector found that as well as eight leg-rests in the screening room where Mr Rafiq was trapped, six others elsewhere in the cinema would also not pull up by hand. He got his whole body under it with only his legs sticking out.

'I was calling your name and I was holding you as much as I could and I told you I'm there with you like I promised you from day one.

'The footrest started to come down trapping his neck.

She said she had asked whether her husband was breathing and that when they did pulled him out, his body was blue.

Charles Simmons-Jacobs, from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), earlier said he found it "impossible" to lift eight of the footrests in the 52-seat theatre.

A "gold class" seat similar to the one that Ateeq Rafiq became trapped under.

Mr Rafiq, from Aston in Birmingham, was "making groaning noises", he said, adding: "I tried to lift the bar but it wouldn't lift at all". After the seat was vacated the control box waited four seconds before returning the head and footrest to their original positions.

In a statement Ayesha Sardar described her husband as a "loving father, son, husband and friend".

"He was always keeping himself active and had a brilliant sense of humour. His smile was the kindest and his heart was the greatest".

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