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UK: O2 Academy to Re-open After Deadly Crush

The south London venue's license was suspended following a show hosted by  Nigerian Afrobeats singer, Asake, during which a large number of people attempted to force their way into the show.

The O2 Academy Brixton is set to reopen for the first time since the deadly crush that claimed the lives of two people two years ago.

The south London venue’s license was suspended following a show hosted by  Nigerian Afrobeats singer, Asake, during which a large number of people attempted to force their way into the show.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were killed when fans without tickets tried to force their way into the show on December 15, 2022.

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Gaby Hutchinson and Rebecca Ikumelo

The incident, which is still being investigated by Metropolitan Police, left a 21-year-old woman with injuries requiring hospitalization.

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Details of the accident were disclosed by Gerald Gouriet KC, who represented the Metropolitan police at a recent licensing meeting.

“About 1,000 people were outside the venue on the night and police found large-scale disorder, with crowds eventually pushing the doors open,” he said. “When the doors were breached, the crowd poured into the lobby towards the auditorium and surged over people who had fallen to the floor,” he added.

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Tribute acts Nirvana UK and The Smyths will perform tonight after the Lambeth Council voted to keep the venue open following a two-day hearing in September 2023.

According to Lambeth Council, Friday’s concert and another tribute act the following week are test events with a 50% capacity that must meet some extensive requirements to proceed:

– Installation of stronger doors
– New crowd management systems
– A new ticketing system
– More detailed risk assessments
– A new centralized control and command centre
– New security and management at the venue

Ahead of the reopening, Lambeth Council’s cabinet member for community safety, Mahamed Hashi, offered tribute to the victims families.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson who lost their lives, as well as with the person who is still in hospital, and all those suffering the trauma of witnessing such distressing scenes at one of our borough’s live music venues,” he said.

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