Brixton Academy venue licence under review after two people killed in crowd crush

Met Police applies for summary review following incident that killed two people

Matt Mathers
Thursday 22 December 2022 11:39 GMT
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Asake 'praying' after crowd crushed at Brixton Academy show

A music venue in south London will have its licence reviewed after two people died in a crush outside.

A gig by Afro-pop artist Asake at the O2 Academy in Brixton was abandoned part-way through when a large number of people tried to enter the south London venue on 15 December.

Eight people were taken to hospital for treatment as a result of a crush that ensued, with two later dying from their injuries.

Two people died after a huge crowd built up outside the venue as a gig took place inside

Rebecca Ikumelo, a 33-year-old mother from Newham, east London, died on Saturday and Gaby Hutchinson, a security guard working at the gig, died on Monday. A 21-year-old woman remains in a critical condition.

The Metropolitan Police has applied to Lambeth Council for a summary review of the 02 premises following the incident.

A summary review is a fast-track review process brought by the police when they consider that the premises concerned is involved in serious crime, serious disorder or both.

The review allows the authority that issued the review to take interim steps where it considers it necessary, pending a full review.

These steps include modification of the conditions of the premises licence;  the exclusion of the sale of alcohol by retail from the scope of the licence; removal of the designated premises supervisor from the licence; and suspension of the licence.

The O2 is a popular venue that attracts major international music acts, with a capacity of 4,921.

Gaby Hutchinson was named as the second person to have died after a crowd crush at the O2 Brixton Academy last Thursday (Met Police/PA)

The Met has launched an investigation into the crush and detectives are appealing for information as they try to establish exactly what happened.

“The investigation is large and complex,” the force said in a statement. “Officers are reviewing CCTV, phone footage, speaking to witnesses and conducting forensic examinations.”

Police will assess the evidence to establish whether any criminal offences were committed.

In a tribute reported by BBC Newsbeat, family members said Gaby "protected those they loved fiercely and it was the same with Gaby’s job".

Rebecca Ikumelo, a 33-year-old mother from Newham, east London, died on Saturday

"When Gaby loved you, it was with their whole heart," relatives said.

"Gaby has brought so much love, laughter and inappropriate jokes into our lives and will forever be our baby, our daughter, our sister, our man and our joy.

"Getting 23 years of Gaby’s life was a blessing and one we will never forget. Gaby will forever live on in our hearts.

"No-one should go to work and not come home. But Gaby protected those they loved fiercely and it was the same with Gaby’s job."

Ms Ikumelo’s family paid tribute to the "adorable mother-of-two" who was a nursing graduate.

Police outside the venue following the deadly crush

The venue said its "heartfelt condolences" were with Mr Hutchinson’s family and friends.

"We continue to be devastated by this tragic situation and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation."

The Met said in a statement it had “submitted a summary review application to Lambeth local authority” on Tuesday.

“The summary review application will generate an interim steps hearing by the local authority, which will take place on Thursday,” the force added.

A statement on Lambeth Council’s website said: “We are shocked and saddened by the devastating incident in Brixton on Thursday night, and are working to support our communities in the wake of this tragedy.

“The council is also fully playing its role in the investigations that are now underway. We are determined that answers must be found as to why these awful events occurred.

“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.”

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