The O2 Academy Brixton has had its licence suspended for three months following a fatal crowd crush that killed two people.
Today (January 16) Lambeth councillors voted to suspend the south London venue’s licence after the deaths of security guard Gaby Hutchinson and concert attendee Rebecca Ikumelo at an Asake gig in December.
The venue has been shut since the incident and last week it was announced that it would remain shuttered until at least April. Now, the venue’s license has been suspended officially.
Met Police had applied for a summary review of the venue’s licence prior to the licensing sub-committee meeting. The force said that in the wake of the tragedy it believed that the venue was associated with “serious crime and serious disorder”.
Councillor Fred Cowell said the meeting earlier today [via Evening Standard]: “Both the police and the licence holder have expressed the view that the ongoing investigations are at too early a stage to clearly identify the cause or causes of the fatal incident on the 15 December 2022 and the extent of any remedial steps required to prevent any repetition of a serious incident.
“As a consequence the licensing sub-committee is not presently satisfied that the venue can reopen at this stage without undermining the licensing objectives.”
It was also ruled that any licensable activity at the venue can’t happen until steps are taken to learn lessons from the fatal incident – to ultimately improve on its safety record.
Academy Music Group (AMG), which owns the venue, previously said that it would shut for three months in any event while officers continued the investigation.
In a statement last week a spokesperson for AMG said: “O2 Academy Brixton recognises the gravity of the events which occurred on the night of December 15 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.
“The licence holder, Academy Music Group, is committed to understanding what happened and co-operating with the various investigations that are under way, including providing full co-operation to the police in the conduct of their inquiries.
“AMG has reflected deeply and has come to its own decision to close the premises for three months while the investigations take place and, at the same time, to work in partnership with the responsible authorities, which will include a review of the licence conditions and proposed amendments.
“The company’s decision to close for this period will be the case whether or not the licence is suspended but AMG agrees to the suspension as an enforceable measure.”
Lambeth Council has the power to further suspend or even permanently revoke the venue’s licence.
Last month’s incident occurred when people who were outside the venue were able to force their way in to the show, leading to overcrowding and the gig being cancelled midway through.
Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, died in hospital on December 17, while Gaby Hutchinson, 23, died on December 19. It was reported last week that a third attendee, aged 21, remained in a critical condition in hospital.
An appeal for the young sons of Ikumelo has raised nearly £50,000 in donations. A Gofundme appeal was launched by her family to raise money to support her sons – donate here.