Birmingham nightclub licence suspended for 28 days after fatal stabbing

The nightclub where a footballer died during a knife attack has had its licence suspended, while Birmingham City Council reviews whether it should be closed permanently.

Birmingham City Council held a meeting of its licensing sub-committee on Friday, after West Midlands Police said there had been “serious management failings” when officers responded to the fatal stabbing of Cody Fisher, 23, at the Crane nightclub in Digbeth on Boxing Day.

The force said Mr Fisher died during “a fight on the dancefloor” and officers who went there shortly before midnight “described a scene of chaos and evidence of drug use within the premises”.

Duncan Craig, representing Crane nightclub’s licence-holder, Digital Arts Media Ltd, said that the company would not oppose a temporary suspension of its licence while the police investigated the “horrific crime”.

Digbeth Boxing Day incident
Cody Fisher (Chris Jepson/Bromsgrove Sporting FC/PA)

“I am aware that they will be asking for a suspension to the licence today and, in the circumstances, I have no instructions to oppose that,” he said.

“It won’t be opposed. It seems wholly appropriate that we then have a 28-day period to reflect on what’s happened and to assist West Midlands Police with their inquiries into this horrific crime.”

He added: “There are one or two issues that my client takes with some of the matters that were asserted in the review application.

“And it’s hoped that that 28-day period will also provide an opportunity to develop a better understanding of what happened on that dreadful night.

“I just thought at this stage it was appropriate, because it may assist your deliberations, (to say) that the application for suspension of the licence will not be opposed by the licence-holder.”

The meeting then went into private session while West Midlands Police discussed evidence relating to the murder inquiry.

After the private session, councillor Diane Donaldson told the meeting that the licensing sub-committee had decided to suspend Crane nightclub’s licence for 28 days, pending the full review hearing.

“Such a review to be held within 28 days of receiving a chief officer of the police’s application. You’ll be notified of the full written decision of the sub-committee, with the reasons, within the time limit,” she said.

In documents submitted to the sub-committee by Superintendent Sally Simpson, an unnamed sergeant said the club’s security guards asked officers to help them with crowd control after the stabbing, while other “oblivious” staff were “wandering around all over the place” and began cleaning up the crime scene.

“They have started to clean the dancefloor further down from where the deceased was; officers shouted at them to stop,” the sergeant said.

“While officers are doing CPR, you can see people are just wandering around in the scene freely.

“As soon as we had more officers on the scene they were removed and the whole dancefloor was cordoned off and the area was made sterile.

“There were hundreds of small drugs bags and nitrous oxide canisters all over the dancefloor. These include the small and the very large nitrous oxide canisters with balloons.”

Mr Fisher’s football club, Stratford Town FC, said that it had postponed its forthcoming match against Bromsgrove Sporting FC.

“As a mark of respect for Cody’s family and friends and in recognition of the significant emotions within Stratford Town Football Club, especially from his playing colleagues and staff, Monday’s game against Bromsgrove Sporting has been postponed,” the club said in a statement.

Mr Fisher had previously played for Bromsgrove Sporting before transferring to Stratford Town.