Brixton Academy’s licence could be temporarily suspended after Asake crowd crush

Brixton Academy

Brixton Academy’s licence could be temporarily suspended after a crowd crush at an Asake gig this month which killed two people.

The incident occurred on December 15, when people who were outside the venue tried and were able to force their way in to the Nigerian star’s show, leading to overcrowding in the venue and the gig being cancelled half way through.

Rebecca Ikumelo, aged 33, died in hospital on Saturday morning (December 17), while Gaby Hutchinson, 23, died on Monday (December 19). A third attendee, aged 21, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

Following the incident, Scotland Yard has applied to have the venue’s licence temporarily suspended, citing “serious crime and disorder” during the show, while a separate criminal investigation from the Metropolitan Police has been launched, applying for a review of the venue licence. As of now, the venue remains closed.

Today (December 22), decisions will be made at Lambeth council chambers with regards to venue capacity, stewarding, alcohol sales and the suspension of the O2 Academy’s licence.

A spokesperson for the Met said: “The decision whether or not to suspend or vary the premises licence will be made by a Local Authority Licensing Subcommittee.”

The application for the licence review added: “Police were called to the premises in response to reports of serious disorder with a clear threat to public safety. During the incident, a crowd forced their way into the venue leading to serious injuries to several individuals, and two individuals have since lost their lives.

“The Met contend that the premises is associated with serious crime and serious disorder. A certificate signed by Detective Superintendent Daniel Ivey has been provided to this effect.”

Brixton Academy cordoned off by police on December 16, 2022, the morning after a crowd crush during an Asake gig. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In an open letter, Lambeth councillors wrote: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson who lost their lives, as well as with those who remain in hospital and those suffering the trauma of witnessing such distressing scenes at one of our borough’s live music venues.

“The venue is currently closed and we are set to undertake an urgent, in-depth review of its licence, which covers the legal conditions it must meet to run, including its public safety arrangements. This follows the Met Police submitting an application for a ‘Summary License Review’ on Tuesday.

“The council’s Licensing Sub-Committee will meet to consider immediate measures that need taking in relation to the venue, ahead of a full review of the premises’ licence which must be completed within 28-days.

“This review will be part of ongoing efforts to both seek answers and ensure such an incident never happens again.”

The venue said they “continue to be devastated by this tragic situation and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation”.

The police have called for anyone with information that could potentially help the case to come forward and have set up an online portal for people to submit information, images or footage. They estimate that there were around 4,000 witnesses present at the time of the incident.

Asake published a statement to his social media accounts on Saturday in response to the news of Ikumelo’s death, in which he said he had spoken to her family and “will continue to do so”.

“I am overwhelmed with grief and could never have imagined anything like this happening,” he wrote.

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