O2 Brixton Academy: Crush victim’s family call for answers – BBC

A person whose sister died following the crush on the O2 Brixton Academy in December says her household need solutions about what occurred.
Wale Ikumelo's sister Rebecca had been at a gig by Afrobeats artist Asake.
The BBC has seen paperwork from Academy Music Group (AMG), the venue organisers, suggesting there could not have been sufficient safety guards.
The doc says such concert events want "as much as 200+" guards. However AMG has stated there have been solely 157 safety workers.
Wale Ikumelo's sister Rebecca – who had two youngsters – was one among two individuals to lose their lives after being caught up within the crush exterior the live performance.
"I simply need all of the justice that may be given on her behalf as a result of she deserves it," Mr Ikumelo advised the BBC.
The doc seen by the BBC, courting from 2021, seems to be AMG's threat evaluation for music occasions on the Academy. It particulars 5 threat ranges related to entry to the constructing.
Afrobeats and Dancehall gigs are classed as degree 5, the best threat.
The doc additionally mentions the necessity for "40-80 high-caliber [sic] safety" at degree 5 occasions – though it doesn't clarify if this might be along with the "as much as 200+" guards.
Fraudulent tickets – plus "late arriving" and "noncompliant" audiences – are listed as potential points at degree 5 occasions which, it says, must be "exhausting tickets solely".
BBC Radio 4 programme File on 4, which has been investigating the evening of the crush, additionally spoke to a whistleblower – a safety guard – who stated there had not been sufficient safety for the Asake present.
Rohan, not his actual title, was engaged on 15 December. He stated there have been solely 110 workers on obligation, when there ought to have been 190.
AMG has advised the BBC that 157 contracted safety workers labored that evening – however didn’t reply when requested in regards to the threat doc.
The whistleblower Rohan additionally stated that some safety guards on the Brixton Academy – employed by the corporate he works for, AP Safety – often took bribes to let in individuals with out tickets, together with on the evening of the Asake present.
He stated members of his crew would every permit "a few hundred" further individuals into venues in alternate for cash.
"Some workers made £1,000 money."
When you’ve got any private expertise of the problems raised by this investigation, please e mail the File on 4 crew at [email protected]
Anybody eager to get right into a gig with no ticket, says Rohan, would communicate to safety workers by the limitations controlling the queue to get in.
"They [some AP Security staff] will let you know a couple of issues, [then you] go not far away… give them numerous money and they’re going to stroll you straight within the entrance door."
He described what occurred on the evening of the crush:
"While you let a couple of individuals in, they might textual content their mates, they usually'll textual content their mates.
"And the bouncers began being grasping, and it obtained out of hand. And folks needed to come back in anyway, with no ticket.
"You may prepare somebody to the max, however when that occurs in entrance of you, you really cease… you freeze."
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Asake gig: Crush builds at Brixton Academy entrance
Rohan says at Brixton, his employer AP Safety knew what was taking place – as a result of he had been in conferences the place individuals had complained about two specific people.
The topic of bribes had additionally been introduced up in briefings and in conversations between managers and bouncers – however no-one, he says, had been reprimanded.
"Our firm knew what was occurring they usually knew the individuals who had been doing it… they usually did nothing about it."
AP Safety has been contacted however declined to touch upon the claims.
Rohan stated he had additionally seen bribes being taken at quite a lot of different venues, stadiums and festivals. The sum of money handed over relied on who was taking part in.
The brother of Rebecca Ikumelo has stated his household are nonetheless in shock over her demise on the age of 33.
"This type of factor shouldn't be taking place while you're going to take pleasure in yourselves," stated Wale Ikumelo in an interview with the BBC's Greg McKenzie.
"Individuals ought to be certain issues like this don't occur once more – and ensure every part's on level and proper."
Mr Ikumelo stated specializing in his sister's two youngsters and getting her justice would assist the therapeutic course of.
"I can inform they [the children] are lacking their mum. Everyone seems to be supporting them, they've obtained numerous assist. The household is actually sturdy proper now.
"It's nearly ensuring that issues like this are prevented sooner or later as a result of issues like this shouldn't be taking place."
Ms Ikumelo – and safety guard Gaby Hutchinson, who was 23 – each died after the crush in hospital.
Safety guard Rohan stated he witnessed what occurred to each of them on the Academy – describing it as "like being in a automotive crash that's been actually terrible – being crashed on and stamped on".
Gaby Hutchinson labored for second safety firm, County Safety, as a specialist canine handler. There is no such thing as a suggestion the agency was concerned in taking bribes or letting individuals in with out tickets.
The BBC has additionally spoken to somebody who obtained right into a gig with a pretend ticket on the Brixton Academy earlier in December.
His account seems to verify Rohan's description of there being a coordinated means of paying bribes and having access to reveals.
Andre stated he, his spouse and two mates, travelled to Brixton to attempt to purchase authentic tickets exterior the venue to observe the DJ Fred Once more – and that he regrets what subsequently occurred.
He stated he requested a doorman the place he would have the ability to purchase a ticket and was advised to go throughout the road to a money machine, the place somebody promoting tickets would meet him.
After some haggling, and regardless of not trusting the tout, Andre handed over money and was despatched tickets on WhatsApp.
Andre stated his group had been then advised to go to a selected safety guard exterior the venue.
"As quickly as we obtained there, our tickets obtained scanned actually, actually, quick – I might say fake-scanned – and the individual simply allow us to in.
"The individual had the gadget that scans tickets and simply used the flashlight on it, not the laser scan.
"It felt actually organised and it felt that we weren't the one those who obtained in that means."
Andre stated it was clear others had been doing the identical as them – and that the venue was completely packed.
"There was completely no house in anyway to maneuver round."
Andre advised the BBC he would have by no means have paid any cash had he identified the tickets had been duplicates.
Take heed to File on 4: Disaster on the Academy on BBC Sounds
On Monday, Lambeth Council agreed to droop the O2 Brixton Academy's licence for 3 extra months till 16 April. Academy Music Group had already agreed it might keep closed.
In a latest assertion the corporate stated: "O2 Academy Brixton recognises the gravity of the occasions which occurred on the evening of 15 December 2022 and expresses its honest condolences to the households of those that died throughout the tragic incident and its real considerations for anybody affected by it."
AMG additionally stated it was dedicated to understanding what occurred and was "offering full cooperation to the police".
The day after the crush in December, AP Safety's director of operational administration, James Hooker, stated: "We’re working with our attorneys, the operators of the premises and the authorities to offer all data that’s wanted.
"We are going to proceed to work with all events and are unable to offer any data right now whereas these inquiries are accomplished."
Extra reporting by Melanie Stewart-Smith
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