Restaurant manager jailed for death of chef

The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

A restaurant manager, who killed a chef in a row over a tandoori chicken takeaway order, was today jailed for 32 months.

Hidayet Ozden (53), from Falkirk, repeatedly punched Shahzad Shah at the Mirchi Indian takeaway in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, and hit him with a pot handle during a struggle.

Mr Shah also lashed out after being attacked and hit Ozden with a pot. Ozden admitted culpable homicide after Mr Shah (56) died in April, last year.

At the High Court in Glasgow Judge Graham Buchanan told Ozden: “I take account of the fact it is accepted by the Crown that you did not intend to kill Mr Shah.

“He died of a very serious heart condition, of which you were unaware. He could have died at any point if placed in a stressful situation. Mr Shah was a close friend and business colleague of yours for many years. I accept you were subject to a degree of provocation by Mr Shah.

“Mr Shah suffered a fractured cheekbone and a small bone in his neck was also broken. None of the injuries inflicted contributed directly to his death. However, a man has lost his life and his family has been left devastated.”

Judge Buchanan told Ozden that, but for his guilty plea, he would have jailed him for three years and six months.

The court heard the attack happened amid what was described as “simmering tension” between the two men who were friends.

Ozden attacked father-of-three Mr Shah after he queried whether the chicken order was on the bone or not and demanded the customer should be phoned to check.

A row developed and Ozden attacked Mr Shah. He was originally charged with murder, but admitted culpable homicide.

The court heard Mr Shah suffered from a serious undiagnosed heart condition.

Advocate depute David Taylor, prosecuting, said of the dispute over the order: “The accused said that it made no difference. Mr Shah however, told the accused that they needed to contact the customer to check what the correct order was. The accused then stated ‘what’s your problem’ and an argument began between the two men.”

The court heard that Ozden pushed and slapped the chef, who picked up a pot and hit his attacker, causing the handle to break off.

Ozden then punched his victim, took the pot handle from him and struck him on the head and body with the makeshift weapon. He also forcibly grabbed the chef by the neck and pushed him against a wall.

Mr Shah appeared to be in shock and Ozden was told to leave, but returned a minute or so later and renewed his attack on his victim who then collapsed.

Ozden also went to his aid assisting with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Defence QC Ian Duguid said: “Mr Ozden has never tried to minimise his involvement in his friend’s death. He wants to express his regret to Mr Shah’s family.”

Mr Duguid handed Judge Buchanan a photograph of Mr Shah’s diseased heart and said: “He was in such poor health. He was vulnerable to any kind of stress and it was that that brought about his death.”