Young dad dies after getting trapped under cinema chair while searching for car keys

A father-of-one who had been watching a film at a Vue Cinema died after becoming trapped under his chair, an inquest has heard.

Ateeq Rafiq, 24, had been to see a film with his wife at the Star City complex in Birmingham in March last year.

After watching the film, he realised he didn’t have his phone and keys and began searching behind his electric recliner seat in the cinema.

His widow, Ayesha Sardar, recalled how he then went under the seat with the electric footrest in the raised position. However, while he was under there, the footrest dropped onto his neck.

Ayesha said his entire body was under the chair with only his legs visible. When the footrest came down, it trapped his neck and her husband started to call out in pain.

She said there were no lights on the chair’s control panel and she tried to pull the footrest up but it trapped her fingers, so she ran outside the screening area and shouted for help.

Vue Cinema staff came rushing in to help her and spent up to 15 minutes attempting to lift the footrest.

​Staff eventually managed to free Mr Rafiq by removing a bolt from the seat, which had trapped his neck.

Mr Rafiq suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital. However, he died a week later from “catastrophic” brain injuries caused by the pressure to his neck.

The coroner said the inquest would be looking at the mechanical cause of how Mr Rafiq became trapped under the footrest.

Mrs Sardar paid tribute to her husband, describing him as a ‘loving father and husband” with a ‘brilliant sense of humour’.

The inquest is expected to last up to seven days.