Birmingham man died after getting neck stuck in Vue Cinema seat, inquest hears
16 May 2019, 15:04 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 17:51
The wife of a man who died after getting trapped in a cinema seat in a Birmingham theatre has recounted her husband's last moments to an inquest on Thursday.
Father-of-one Ateeq Rafiq, 24, had misplaced his mobile phone and keys after watching a film at a Vue Cinema in March last year.
He began searching for his belongings under his "gold class" seat, when the electronic footrest lowered itself and trapped his neck.
His wife, Ayeshar Sardar, recalled to the jury on Thursday how she tried in vain to free her husband from under the seat.
"At the end of the film, Ateeq noticed that he couldn't find his mobile phone and keys," she said.
"He bent down on to his knees. After a short while the footrest started to come down."
She then tried to stop the footrest, but her own fingers became trapped, forcing her to seek help from cinema staff.
For the next 15 minutes, members of staff attempted to lift the footrest and eventually managed to release Mr Rafiq by removing a bolt from the seat.
However, Mr Rafiq had by this stage suffered cardiac arrest.
He was revived by CPR and transported to Heartlands Hospital, but died a week later from a brain injury described by coroner Emma Brown as "catastrophic".
According to pathologist Olaf Biedrzycki, the cardiac arrest subsequently caused a swelling in Mr Rafiq's brain, which led to his death.
He added: "There is nothing in the heart that could have caused this cardiac arrest. It seems that the footrest was either pressing on the right side of his neck or the back of his neck."
Mrs Sardar paid tribute to a "loving father, son, husband and friend" in her statement, which was read to the court by Ms Brown.
"He was always keeping himself active and had a brilliant sense of humour. His smile was the kindest and his heart was the greatest."
The inquest is expected to continue for up to seven days.