Man Killed By Cinema Seat As He Searched For Phone And Keys

A man died after his neck became trapped in an electronic footrest as he scrambled to find his keys and phone, an inquest has heard.

moviescinemAteeq Rafiq, 24, had wedged himself underneath a "Gold Class seat", as he tried to find his belongings after a movie at  Birmingham's Star City in March 2018, when the electronic footrest lowered itself, pressing down on his neck.

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.

“He shouted in pain and I told him to get out from under there,” his wife Ayeshar Sardar said in a statement. “I tried to pull the footrest off but couldn’t.”

View Cinema Birmingham. Photo: Google Maps

The inquest heard that Sardar raced to find staff, who eventually managed to free Rafiq by removing a bolt from the seat, which had trapped either the back or right side of his neck.

He "was blue" by the time he was rescued and went into cardiac arrest.

He was revived by paramedics and taken to the local hospital but died in hospital a week later from "catastrophic" brain injuries, according to Coroner Emma Brown.

Photo: Getty

Charles Simmons-Jacobs, from the Health and Safety Executive, told the jury that it was "impossible" to lift eight of the footrests in the 52-seat theatre, with the recliner only working when a customer was seated.

The seat that Rafiq was on had blown a fuse in the control box, he explained. The force coming down on the man's neck would have been the equivalent of three-quarters of a tonne, reports the BBC.

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Rafiq has been remembered by Sardar as a "loving father, son, husband and friend" who "was always keeping himself active and had a brilliant sense of humour." Sky News reports. "His smile was the kindest and his heart was the greatest." 

The inquest continues.