Live Music

O2 Academy Brixton inquest could lead to ‘criminal charges’

Featured image credit: Dr Neil Clifton/ CC BY-SA 2.0/ Edited for size

DCI Nigel Penney of the Metropolitan Police has said that an investigation into the recent crowd crush at O2 Academy Brixton, where two people died as a result, has a “strong possibility of [leading to] criminal charges".

December’s Asake concert at Brixton Academy saw a number of concertgoers that did not have a ticket to the gig try to enter the venue, which led to a crowd crush that resulted in eight people being taken to hospital – four of which were in a critical condition.

Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson later died from their injuries while a third still remains in hospital.

Following the incident, the venue’s license was suspended until January 16. A spokesperson for Academy Music Group – which runs Brixton Academy – said that the venue would stay closed voluntarily until April to accommodate police investigations.

A recent Lambeth Council meeting saw the venue’s license remain suspended for another three months.

The Guardian reported that an inquest had been opened into the deaths of Ikumelo and Hutchinson on Friday at London Inner South coroner’s court.

DCI Penney said that his team had begun “a huge investigation” which was set to be “a vast and complicated process”.

Police are reportedly tracking down and approaching witnesses, and searching through hours of CCTV footage.

Penney also told senior coroner Andrew Harris that there was a “strong possibility of criminal charges” being made at a later date, after Harris asked about the potential of homicide being ruled in connection to the deaths.

Harris also granted permission for the inquest to be suspended while investigations continued. The inquest also revealed that the Metropolitan Police had been consulting with Lambeth environmental health officials, after the Health and Safety Executive opted to not be involved with the investigation.