O2 Academy in Brixton has licence suspended for three months after fatal crush

Entertainment

The 02 Academy in Brixton has had its licence suspended for three months after two people were killed in a crowd crush.

Lambeth council’s licensing sub-committee made the decision on Monday after 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.

On Sunday, owner Academy Music Group (AMG) said it had decided to stay closed for three months regardless of the impending licensing decision by the council.

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
Image:
Rebecca Ikumelo (above) and Gaby Hutchinson suffered fatal injuries

The chair of the sub-committee, councillor Fred Cowell, said: “The decision of the licensing sub-committee is that the premises licence is suspended for a period of three months from today, expiring at one minute past midnight on 16 April 2023.

He added: “No licensable activities shall take place at the premises unless and until an application to vary the premises licence has been made by the premises’ licence holder.”

The meeting was called after an application by the Metropolitan Police.

Gerald Gouriet KC, representing the force, said the full extent of the injuries caused by the crush is still unknown.

More on Brixton Concert Crush

“It started at 8pm, so I understand by 9pm a large crowd of about 1,000 people had formed outside the entrance to the premises, to all intents giving the appearance of entering the building,” he said.

“Staff at the venue closed the entrance doors and called the police for support. And we have a timing for that call, it’s 9.04pm. The police arrived at 9.16pm.

“When they arrived, they found large-scale disorder, the crowd pushing against the doors, trying to force them open, which they eventually did.

“And when the doors were breached, the crowd poured into the lobby towards the auditorium.

“A number of them fell to the floor. Several – we don’t yet know the total number and that will be found out as the inquiry proceeds – were injured as the crowd surged on and over those who had fallen.”

Four people were taken to hospital, Mr Gouriet said.

“Tragically, as we know, two of them died as a result of their injuries,” he said.

“A third remains critically ill and the fourth has been, thankfully, discharged.”

Mr Gouriet applied for the venue to have its licence suspended for three months, for that suspension to include the initial 21-day appeal period, and for no licensed activities to take place there until it has had an application to vary its licence granted by the licensing sub-committee.

Stephen Walsh KC, representing AMG, said his client agreed to the suspension terms as set out by the police and offered sympathies on behalf of the venue to those impacted by the tragedy.

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