Brixton Academy could be permanently closed after deadly crush

Brixton Academy could be permanently closed after deadly crush thumbnail

The Metropolitan Police has called for a music venue to be stripped of its licence following a crowd crush which killed two.

The O2 Academy in Brixton, south London, had its licence suspended after fans without tickets tried to get into a gig by Nigerian artist Asake on December 15 last year.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, died after receiving serious injuries in the crush.

A decision on whether to reopen the site will be made at a Lambeth Council licensing meeting in the near future.

A spokesperson from the Met said: ‘On Monday, January 16, the licence of the O2 Academy Brixton was suspended for three months.

‘On April 14, the Met Police submitted an application for a review of [the] premises licence to Lambeth Council and will be seeking a revocation of the licence.

‘This matter will be decided at a future council sub-committee hearing on a date to be confirmed.’

Academy Music Group (AMG), which owns the venue, supported the decision to suspend the licence and offered its condolences to the families of those who were killed.

The Met said there was ‘large-scale disorder’ at the event and around 1,000 people were outside the venue, eventually pushing the doors open.

A whistleblower recently claimed security guards regularly took bribes to let people in without tickets.

The venue worker said some members of his team would each allow ‘a couple of hundred’ extra people into venues in exchange for money, claiming they could make up to £1,000 in cash a shift.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has also launched an inquiry into the corruption allegations, and police are also investigating.

A spokesperson for AMG said: ‘AMG has co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred.

‘We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely.

‘AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms.

‘The review of our licence will take place through the formal process with Lambeth Council in due course.’

A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: ‘In January, the sub-committee imposed a condition requiring the venue to cease all licensable activities pending it submitting a variation application – and the council granting that application.

‘The operators of the O2 Academy Brixton were required at that last meeting to come up with workable changes to their licence in a way that fully addresses police concerns about the venue’s operations, and ensure no repeat of the tragic events of December 15, via that variation application.

‘The variation application has been made, and will be considered at a licensing sub-committee on a date that will be confirmed shortly. The O2 Academy Brixton will not be able to carry out any licensable activities until after that meeting at the earliest.

‘On April 14, an application to review the O2 Academy Brixton’s licence was submitted by the Met Police. That application is now subject to a statutory consultation period.

‘As a result, there are currently there are two outstanding applications in relation to the venue, the licence variation and the licence review. Lambeth Council will consider both in due course.’

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