Brixton Academy crush: Claims staff took bribes to let in ticketless fans to be investigated

The scene outside Brixton O2 Academy following the crowd crush (PA Wire)
The scene outside Brixton O2 Academy following the crowd crush (PA Wire)

Claims that O2 Academy Brixton security staff took bribes to let in fans without tickets, which led to a fatal crush, are being investigated.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is launching an inquiry into corruption allegations made following the incident last month in which two people died.

Paul Fullwood, SIA director of inspections and enforcement, said they were working with the Metropolitan Police to assist their investigation into the tragedy, which happened at an Asake gig at the south London venue on December 15.

Mr Fullwood said on Tuesday they had seen media reports following a BBC programme on the incident from which it had been alleged that it was not the first time that security guards had taken bribes at the venue to allow extra people inside.

Some guards, it was reported, could make an extra £1,000 per night by letting in ticketless fans.

Mr Fullwood added: “As the regulator of the private security industry in the UK, we take allegations of corruption by security operatives extremely seriously.

“We have today launched an inquiry into these allegations which appear to extend beyond the Brixton O2 Academy.

“We will also review licensing arrangements and take appropriate action against any individual or company carrying out such practices as part of our regulatory licensing responsibility across the private security industry.”

Thirty-three-year-old concert goer Rebecca Ikumelo and 23-year old security guard Gaby Hutchinson both died from injuries after the incident.

Afrobeats singer Asake had previously begged fans on social media to not try and enter the sold out gig without a ticket.

There have also been reports that such events need more than 200 guards but only 157 were in attendance on December 15 for what was the final in a run of sold out Asake gigs there.

The Academy remains closed after Lambeth Council suspended its licence for three months up to April 16.

Academy Music Group said in a statement: “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.”