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Brixton Academy will be allowed to reopen after deadly crowd crush if it can meet 77 ‘robust’ safety conditions | UK News

The Brixton Academy will be allowed to reopen after a fatal crowd crush at the venue last year – but Lambeth Council said the venue will have to meet 77 conditions to open again safely.

It comes after security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, died at the south London venue on 15 December 2022, when fans without tickets tried to enter a show by Nigerian Afrobeat artist, Asake.

Both victims were in the foyer of the building when they were critically injured, the Metropolitan Police said. About 1,000 people were outside the venue at the time.

The council said the Academy will have to meet 77 “extensive and robust” conditions “designed to promote public safety” before it could reopen, in a decision announced today.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, of Newham. Pic: Met Police
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Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, of Newham. Pic: Met Police

Gabrielle Hutchinson has been named as the second woman to have died after a crush at the Asake concert in Brixton on Thursday
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Gabrielle Hutchinson

Following the crush, which also injured 10 people, the venue was ordered to shut down after its licence was suspended by Lambeth Council in December.

A hearing of the council’s licensing subcommittee to decide the venue’s ultimate fate began on Monday.

The initial decision to close Brixton Academy was supported by the venue’s owner, Academy Music Group, which offered to voluntarily close the site’s doors over the suspension period.

The Metropolitan Police has also previously urged the council to act.

Gerald Gouriet KC, who represented the Met at an earlier licensing meeting, said officers found “large-scale disorder” with crowds eventually pushing the doors open in the moments before the crush.

A police investigation was launched, and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) opened an inquiry into corruption allegations that some security staff at the venue regularly took bribes.

Read more:
Families of victims will ‘never stop’ in search for justice
Probe into corrupt security claims

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‘People need to be held accountable’

Meanwhile, a petition was launched calling for the venue to reopen. It surpassed 100,000 signatures.

Members of well-known bands, such as Blur and The Chemical Brothers, supported the reopening of the venue.

Asake was forced to abandon the gig last December after performing three songs and released a statement saying his “heart is with those who were injured”.

His manager, Stephen Nana, later told Sky News he was “completely speechless and lost for words” after Ms Hutchinson’s death was announced.

Judge calls for Metropolitan Police review of 999 speeds after officer jailed over death of woman, 25, in Brixton | UK News

A judge has called for the Metropolitan Police to review acceptable speeds for responses to 999 calls after an officer was jailed over the death of a young woman.

PC Nadeem Patel, 28, was driving at more than 80mph before his patrol car struck 25-year-old Shante Daniel-Folkes on Stockwell Road in Brixton, south London, on 9 June 2021.

Ms Daniel-Folkes was thrown into the air, fell unconscious and died at the scene.

PC Patel pleaded guilty in February to causing her death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified from driving for 54 months.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC told PC Patel: “It is clear from the investigation that has been conducted that you drove at grossly excessive speed, over a not insignificant distance, far in excess of that which was safe given the prevailing road conditions, even making allowance for the fact of responding to an emergency call and not being bound by the speed limit.”

The case can only now be reported after the conclusion of the Old Bailey trial of PC Gary Thomson who was driving just ahead of PC Patel and was not involved in the collision.

PC Thomson was cleared of dangerous driving but convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving on Monday.

He was fined £500 and given five penalty points, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £500.

Sentencing PC Thomson, Judge Lucraft said: “I note there is no clear guidance provided by the Metropolitan Police on speeds police cars should not exceed in responding to emergency calls when driving in residential areas or roads subject to a speed limit of 30mph.

“In my judgment, further thought should be given to this issue particularly as the speed limits in many residential areas are being further reduced to 20mph.”

Ms Daniel-Folkes had been walking across the road at around 11.20pm close to a pedestrian crossing when PC Thomson’s car passed her with its emergency lights and siren activated.

She continued to cross and was struck by PC Patel’s vehicle around three to four seconds later.

He had earlier switched off his front emergency lights so as to not affect PC Thomson’s vision in the lead vehicle but did have his siren activated.

Although exempt from the 30mph limit, PC Patel reached a peak speed of 83.9mph on Stockwell Road just 115 metres before the point the car stopped.

The vehicle was travelling at around 55mph at the time of the crash after PC Patel braked for two seconds from a speed of more than 81mph.

The vehicle being driven by PC Thomson also passed Ms Daniel-Folkes at speeds of between 70-79mph.

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Family ‘numb and empty’ after death

During PC Patel’s sentencing in February, Ms Daniel-Folkes’s family described her as “kind, funny, loving, and very creative”.

Judge Lucraft said: “She is described as bubbly and carefree – a lover of life and someone who was ambitious.

“She loved fashion and design. She was a mentor, an artist, a certified nail technician looking forward to opening her own salon and to a bright future for herself and her young son who she adored. She was much loved by all who knew her.

“The family are devastated by the loss of Shante.

“They express a numb and empty feeling at Shante’s loss and speak about the long-lasting impact on the family and that on Shante’s young son in particular – a son she will not see grow up and make his own way in life.”

Rosemary Ainslie, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Shante Daniel-Folkes following this avoidable tragedy.

“Both officers, although not bound by the 30mph speed limit while responding to a 999 call, were driving at motorway speeds in a built-up urban area, with a number of potential hazards in the vicinity.

“These included pedestrians, cyclists, and cars travelling in the other direction, as well as an open convenience store directly at the scene and a nearby pub in which 30 to 40 customers were present for a quiz night.

“There was an obvious risk of injury to a person from vehicles travelling at that speed in the dark, and both officers fell below the expected standard of a competent and careful driver that evening.

“PC Patel admitted causing the death of Ms Daniel-Foulkes by driving dangerously and I hope his sentence, along with today’s verdict for PC Thomson, offers some comfort to her family at this extremely difficult time.”

O2 Academy in Brixton staying shut for three months after fatal crush | Ents & Arts News

The O2 Academy in Brixton will remain shut for three more months after two people were killed in a crowd crush.

Owners Academy Music Group (AMG) said it had “reflected deeply” on the incident and had decided to stay closed regardless of an impending licensing decision by the local council.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were fatally injured when ticketless fans tried to enter Nigerian artist Asake’s show at the south London venue on 15 December.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, of Newham. Pic: Met Police
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Rebecca Ikumelo and (below) Gaby Hutchinson suffered fatal injuries
Gabrielle Hutchinson has been named as the second woman to have died after a crush at the Asake concert in Brixton on Thursday

Lambeth Council ordered the site to shut shortly afterwards, pending a hearing by a subcommittee on Monday.

Metropolitan Police had sought a longer licence suspension “to allow time to work with the venue to facilitate a safe reopening and to ensure appropriate safeguards, aimed at improving public safety, are in place”.

AMG has now taken the matter into its own hands, saying it “recognises the gravity” of what happened and offered “sincere condolences to the families of those who died”.

The three-month closure will give time for investigations into the incident to take place, AMG said, adding it was “committed to understanding what happened” and “providing full co-operation to the police”.

More on Brixton Concert Crush

“The company’s decision to close for this period will be the case whether or not the licence is suspended, but AMG agrees to the suspension as an enforceable measure,” a statement continued.

An online portal set up by the Met for people to submit details, photos, and videos of the incident remains open.

Some 4,000 people are thought to have witnessed the crush, which left eight attendees needing hospital treatment.

Brixton concert crush: Police watchdog investigates incident as three people in critical condition | UK News

The police watchdog has said it has launched an investigation following a concert crush at the O2 Academy Brixton in south London on Thursday night.

In a statement on Friday, Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said an incident in which an officer was “apparently seen to push a member of the public” is currently under review by the force’s director of professional standards.

Three people are in critical condition in hospital and one person was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer following a concert crush at a show by Afrobeat artist Asake.

A spokesperson for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is aware of the incident and added: “We will assess the available information, including footage of the incident, to determine what further action may be required.”

The Met Police Gold Commander Ade Adelekan said that where force has been used by officers “those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions”.

He added that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will look at all material, including body-worn video footage from those at the scene.

Mr Wingrove added that an “urgent investigation” into the concert crush was underway.

A total of eight people were taken to hospital after a crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets, the Metropolitan Police said.

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Crowd tries to enter Asake gig

Lambeth police and other emergency services were alerted to the scene on Stockwell Road after 9.30pm following reports of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”.

Footage posted online showed large crowds outside the building, with many people holding up mobile phones and filming the scene.

Injuries were believed to have been caused by “crushing”, according to Scotland Yard police officers.

The concert was eventually cancelled part-way through, with fans of the Nigerian singer told: “The reason we have to stop the show is because they have breached the doors.”

Following the incident, Asake, who was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award, said his “heart is with those who were injured” at his concert.

Clothes and medical gloves lie on the floor outside Brixton O2 Academy
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Clothes and medical gloves lie on the floor outside Brixton O2 Academy

Labour MP Florence Eshalomi has called for answers to what led to the crush, and stated that “ticketing and security procedures have not performed as they should have”.

Ahead of the gig, Asake posted on Twitter asking fans not to come to the venue unless they had a valid ticket.

The concert was the third of three sold-out dates at the 4,921-standing capacity venue and concluded a run of UK dates.

Asake says his ‘heart is with those who were injured’ after apparent crowd crush at Brixton concert | UK News

Singer-songwriter Asake has said his “heart is with those who were injured” after an apparent crowd crush at his concert at the O2 Academy in Brixton.

Four people are in a critical condition, the Metropolitan Police said, after eight were taken to hospital by ambulance on Thursday night.

The Nigerian Afrobeats artist has said in a statement on Instagram: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest.

“I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals.

“I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of the Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end.

“For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short.

“Thank you for your unbelievable love, London. I love you too much! I’m looking forward to seeing you again in a bit!”

Asake, whose real name is Ahmed Ololade, was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award, for artists breaking through in the UK.

Lambeth police and other emergency services were alerted to the scene on Stockwell Road after 9.30pm following reports of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”.

Brixton O2 Academy
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Brixton O2 Academy

Injuries were believed to have been caused by “crushing”, according to Scotland Yard police officers. No arrests have been made.

Metropolitan Police Gold Commander Ade Adelekan urged people to “be sensible about what they share” on social media and “not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident”.

He added that the officers who used force “know they have to be accountable for their actions”, adding that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will look at all material, including body-worn video footage from those at the scene.