Deli owner killed himself after losing kosher licence
THE owner of a Jewish deli hanged himself the day after two of his shops were stripped of their licences after being accused of supplying non-kosher meat.
Robert Kaye was tailed back to Gough’s Deli, which he owned in Prestwich, by three rabbis and made to climb a ladder to paint over a sign indicating that the shop sold kosher products, an inquest into his death was told.
Roseman’s Deli in Liverpool, which Mr Kaye had owned for more than a decade, was also stripped of its licence by Jewish authorities.
Mr Kaye’s partner told the hearing at Rochdale Coroner’s Court that he had been left ‘completely broken’ by the decisions. He was found dead at his home in Hollins, Bury, the following morning.
The inquest heard that Mr Kaye, who was described as a ‘strong, proud man,’ had also been ‘tortured’ by health issues in the leadup to his death on June 18 last year.
He had multiple sclerosis, which had been hampering his day-today life, and had been diagnosed with depression a year earlier.
Accusations were first made against Mr Kaye, 43, after a member of staff at Gough’s, in Bury Old Road, refused to accept a delivery of liver which did not appear to be kosher. The order was destined for Roseman’s.
Mr Kaye was asked to meet with Manchester Beth Din, an organisation which regulates Jewish religious laws, to offer an explanation.
At first, he told them the order was meant for another Robert Kaye, who worked at Bolton Market. But when the product supplier was contacted, they confirmed they had been delivering nonkosher meat to Roseman’s for seven years.
Mr Kaye changed his excuse and claimed the produce was destined for a nonkosher catering business he was running.
An investigation into both businesses was launched by the Beth Din, in conjunction with its Liverpool counterpart, and the licences were removed. His partner, Kathryn Davies, told the inquest that Mr Kaye’s stress levels ‘went through the roof.’
In a statement, Rabbi Aubrey Steiner of the Manchester Beth Din explained that it was believed that non-kosher meat had been supplied to both shops.
He said the licence system needed to be trustworthy as it provided a guarantee to those of the Jewish faith that food they were buying was kosher.
Ms Davies told the hearing that
Mr Kaye was followed back to Gough’s by three rabbis, who then made him climb a ladder with a broken shoulder to paint over the Beth Din sign. According to Ms Davies, several bookings to cater events were cancelled by clients in light of the licence being removed.
The inquest heard that Mr Kaye had hoped to continue trading at Gough’s without a licence, but was given three options for Roseman’s. They were to sell up, to only serve pre-packaged food, or to sell pre-packaged food and allow a competitor to open. Ms Davies, who said her partner was a ‘beautiful soul, said: “He was so withdrawn. He was just saying ‘we will be okay,’ but he was not okay. He had not been for a long time.”
That evening, Mr Kaye spoke to a friend over the phone and told him he ‘might as well hang himself,’ but the friend did not believe he had any intention of doing so. Mr Kaye went to sleep and woke up before leaving the house shortly after 7am the following morning to take his daughter to school. As he left, he shouted
Kathryn Davies ‘Babe, I’m going. Love you,’ to Ms Davies. She then left to head to work and tried to ring Mr Kaye shortly after 7.45am, but he failed to answer or return the call.
Concerned, she returned home and found Mr Kaye hanged in the loft. Paramedics were called, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pathologist Dr Emil Salmo recorded Mr Kaye’s cause of death as hanging.
Coroner Catherine McKenna recorded a conclusion of suicide.