How Facebook 'night of mayhem' lived up to its Park Lane billing

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It was billed as a night of mayhem and it certainly delivered. Riot police yesterday evening fought running battles with party-goers after an illegal rave in a multi-million mansion attracted thousands of teenage gatecrashers like hedonistic moths to a flame.

The party was advertised widely on Facebook as a “night of mayhem” to celebrate squatters taking over a six-storey Georgian mansion on Park Lane. The squatters are thought to be part of an anti-capitalist collective who believed that the unoccupied mansion was owned by HSBC.

But events rapidly spiralled out of control when thousands of teenagers heard about the planned revelry through social networking sites, passed the invite to their friends and then descended en masse.

Police officers arrived shortly after 11pm to try and stop revellers from climbing onto the building’s roof which they feared would collapse under the weight of so many people. They called for riot police to back them up after a small number of partygoers started hurling bottles and bricks in protest.

Jamwam Anstruther, one of the teenage revellers, updated his Twitter account throughout the night. At 1.30am he wrote: “There’s like 300 riot police outside. Closed down whole of Marble Arch. F***ing riot police raided. Batons and all. Intense.”

Another attendee, Fiona Hicks, wrote: “New York fashion week can stick it, I’m on top of a £30,000,000 Park Lane mansion squat party doing lines off the roof.”

Both the western edge of Oxford Street and all of Park Lane was closed off for more than three hours as officers tried to persuade the revellers to leave.

American singer Courtney Love, who lives off Park Lane, had to abandon her much anticipated first comeback gig because she could not get through the police lines. Love had been due to play a short midnight set with her newly reformed band Hole at Proud Bar in Camden. But as she wrote on her Twitter account: “There was...a massive riot tonight outside my house, the cops wouldn’t let me leave.”

Zosia Swidlicka, a spokeswoman from Proud Bar, said: “She was due to go on stage at midnight to play some of the songs off her new album but she couldn’t even get here. It was kind of annoying really because Courtney is sort of known for being a little bit unreliable but this time it wasn’t even her fault.”

The party is thought to be the biggest example yet of a Facebook event going viral, resulting in hordes of gatecrashers.

Yesterday morning the invite, which was cryptically titled “Nicolas Cage Mansion Party”, already had more than 4,000 people saying they were hoping to attend and a further 5,000 people still undecided. Police put the total number of revellers on the night was “in excess of 2,000”.

Although party goers complained at the heavy police presence there were genuine concerns for the integrity of the building. At one point fears of a collapse became so great that at least one hospital across put staff on a “no break” order in case they were suddenly inundated with injuries.

London Ambulance treated two people for injuries at the scene and even felt compelled to send in their Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) - a specially trained crew who are qualified to take on potentially toxic situations such as a chemical spills or, in this case, a large gathering of unwashed over-excited teenagers.

Organisers of the party sheepishly admitted yesterday that it had got a little “out of control”. Oliver Appleyard, an 18-year-old sixth-form student, told the Evening Standard: “What’s really sad is that this is not what we wanted. We wanted people to have a good time and to be safe. We did have lots of friends controlling the situation, but a small majority were badly behaved. We did have the feeling this morning of, ‘Oh God, I hope nothing serious happened’. The average age was 16-18, so that age group was always going to be hard to control.”

There were no arrests yesterday but police say they are looking to speak to the organisers of the party.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living