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Birmingham Star City cinema death: Worker 'froze' as man crushed

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Ateeq Rafiq died a week after becoming trapped at Birmingham’s Star City on 16 March 2018

A cinema worker who tried to help a man trapped under a seat, “froze” and “didn’t know what to do”, an inquest has heard.

Ateeq Rafiq, 24, died a week after becoming stuck while reaching for his belongings at the Vue multiplex at Star City, Birmingham, last March.

The inquest earlier heard he was crushed by almost a tonne of force.

Adam Bharoochi, who was on his first shift at the cinema, told Birmingham’s coroner he could not release Mr Rafiq.

“I froze up for a second because I didn’t know what to do,” Mr Bharoochi said.

‘Groaning noises’

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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”.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” Mr Bharoochi said.

On Thursday, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the inquest it was “impossible” to lift the footrests and the force that came down on Mr Rafiq would have been the equivalent of three-quarters of a tonne.

Mr Bharoochi said he called his colleagues for assistance, none of whom were able to release Mr Rafiq.

The cinema’s duty manager, Elliot Stapley, said staff used a wrench to loosen the footrest from “Gold Class” chair, releasing Mr Rafiq.

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

Coroner Emma Brown said Mr Rafiq, who had been with his wife at the cinema, died from catastrophic brain injuries after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The inquest continues.

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