Milton Keynes Lidl launches investigation after terminally-ill gran of 10 was banned for 'the way she looks'

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She says she’s so thin they mistook her for a heroin addict

A Lidl store in MK has launched an investigation after a terminally-ill grandmother of 10 says she was banned by security because they mistook her for a heroin addict due to how thin she is.

Karen Sahiti, 55, has months to live with severe emphysema and is receiving end of life care.

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Over the past year the disease has caused her weight to drop from 13 stone to just six stone. But she is still determined to enjoy life as much as she can with her four children and all her grandchildren.

Terminally-ill Karen Sahiti was mistaken for a 'druggie' and banned from entering Lidl in MK. Lidl store image credit: Getty Images.Terminally-ill Karen Sahiti was mistaken for a 'druggie' and banned from entering Lidl in MK. Lidl store image credit: Getty Images.
Terminally-ill Karen Sahiti was mistaken for a 'druggie' and banned from entering Lidl in MK. Lidl store image credit: Getty Images.

Sadly, she was reduced to a sobbing wreck after a bizarre experience at the Lidl store in Wolverton on Thursday last week.

"I popped in to get something my son needed. I parked in the disabled space then realised I needed to use the loo, which was just inside the entrance to the store,” she said.

"A security guard was standing at the entrance. I asked out of politeness if I could use the loo before I shopped. I needn’t have done but I just thought it was polite.”

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The security man, to Karen’s surprise, looked her up and down slowly from head to toe then told her: “You can – but only if you come straight back to me afterwards.”

Karen's illness has caused her to lose seven stone in a yearKaren's illness has caused her to lose seven stone in a year
Karen's illness has caused her to lose seven stone in a year

Puzzled, Karen did as he said. But when she returned, she never dreamed of the shock that was in store as security initially banned her from shopping there.

"He told me he was refusing me entry into the store because I looked suspicious. I was horrified and said:’ Why? How do I look suspicious?’

"He looked me up and down again and said: ‘Look at the state of you’. I was so confused that I asked to see the manager.”

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The manager arrived and made a slight concession – Karen could shop in the store but she had to be watched at all times as she did so.

“I realised then that they thought I was a heroin addict and might steal something. Even though I was clean and tidy, it must have been because I’m so thin. It broke my heart.”

Karen left the store immediately, desperate to return to her Bradville home. But she was so upset that she sat in her car crying for 20 minutes before she was able to drive.

Later her daughter went to complain, accusing the store of discrimination. She recorded the security guard admitting they had mistaken her mum for “a druggie” because of the way she looks. The MK Citizen has listened to the recording.

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Karen said: “I’m 55 years old and I’m dying. I may look ill and thin but I’m certainly not a druggie. How dare they?

"I don’t have long left, probably only months, and I certainly don’t need something like this happening.”

Since then the family has contacted Lidl head office asking for an apology but are yet to receive one at the time of writing.

The MK Citizen contacted Lidl and a spokesman said an investigation will be held into the incident.

"We are investigating this as a priority,” he said.

The supermarket giant promised a statement will be issued “as soon as possible” when the investigation has been completed.