O2 Academy Brixton licence suspended for three months after fatal crowd crush | London

The O2 Academy Brixton has had its licence suspended for three months after a fatal crowd crush at the venue left two people dead and one in critical condition.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and the security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both died of their injuries at the venue at a gig by the Afrobeats singer Asake on 15 December after a number of people appeared to enter without tickets.

The decision on Monday by Lambeth’s licensing subcommittee was made after a request by the Metropolitan police, who are investigating the incident.

Preempting the suspension, the owner of the venue, Academy Music Group (AMG), announced on Saturday that the doors would stay shut for three months while police investigated. The licence had previously been suspended pending Monday’s meeting.

On Saturday the Met said the suspension of the licence would “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 been asked to clarify arrangements for ticket holders at events due to take place at the venue over the next three months.

In a statement it said it had “reflected deeply” on the incident and would remain closed regardless of whether its licence remained suspended.

“O2 Academy Brixton recognises the gravity of the events which occurred on the night of 15 December 2022 and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of those who died during the tragic incident and its genuine concerns for anyone affected by it,” it said.

“The licence holder, Academy Music Group (AMG), is committed to understanding what happened and cooperating with the various investigations that are under way, including providing full cooperation to the police in the conduct of their inquiries.”

The fatal crush was initially blamed on people without tickets forcing entry as the concert was beginning. But this account was questioned by witnesses who said the vast majority of those outside at the time had tickets and those without tickets had entered earlier.

As part of their investigation specialist officers are talking to witnesses as well as reviewing CCTV and phone footage, speaking to witnesses, and reviewing evidence submitted online by members of the public.

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