Pictured: Footballer, 23, who was stabbed to death on Birmingham nightclub dancefloor

Cody Fisher, who was been named as the victim of the Birmingham nightclub stabbing - Chris Jepson/Bromsgrove Sporting FC
Cody Fisher, who was been named as the victim of the Birmingham nightclub stabbing - Chris Jepson/Bromsgrove Sporting FC

A 23-year-old semi-professional footballer has died after being stabbed at a Birmingham nightclub on Boxing Day, prompting questions over security at the venue.

Police were called to the Crane venue in Adderley Street, Digbeth, just before 11.45pm after reports that a man had been attacked on the dancefloor. Despite efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead around half an hour later, West Midlands Police said.

On Tuesday the family of the victim, named as Cody Fisher, said in a statement that whoever was responsible had “broken our hearts” and that they had lost their “best friend”.

Attendees have raised questions about a lack of thorough security searches at the venue in the wake of the attack.

An 18-year-old man from Wolverhampton, who did not want to be named, said the incident was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

He said: “Me and the friend I was with, not once did we get asked to clear our pockets out, even though mine were full. They didn't even touch me whilst searching me, they just followed the outline of my body with their hands then tapped me to say go on through.

“Obviously you want everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves [but] when we got in I said to my friend: ‘That’s the worst search I’ve ever seen.’ Anyone could have brought anything in.”

Police at the Crane nightclub in Digbeth, Birmingham
Police at the Crane nightclub in Digbeth, Birmingham

On social media, others questioned how the knife had got inside. One person who said they had been at the event wrote on Facebook: “The security barely did any searches on the way in and were letting people in without tickets.”

Another suggested Crane should face charges in the wake of the death, adding: “Then maybe the people who own these clubs would put more effort into making their venues safer.”

The victim is thought to have been out with friends when he was approached by a group of people, West Midlands Police said.

Sydnee Power, 23, from Birmingham, described seeing “groups of lads” who were “looking to cause trouble” when he arrived at the club, adding: “As soon as me and my friends walked in, we got a very weird vibe and the atmosphere wasn’t good.

“There were just groups of lads everywhere, most of them looked moody. A lot of them were definitely looking to cause trouble. They clearly weren’t there to enjoy the music.”

Detective Inspector Michelle Thurgood, leading the investigation, said: “This was a young man enjoying himself with friends on a Boxing Day night out, and our thoughts are with his friends and family today.

“We know there were hundreds of people in the nightclub at the time. While we’ve spoken to a number of them already, we still need to hear from anyone who was there and who witnessed or even filmed what happened.

“We believe that the victim was approached by a group of people, and was then stabbed, so we’re working hard to identify all of those involved.”

The victim’s family has been told and will be supported by specialist officers, the force added.

A cordoned-off area at the club in Digbeth - Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live/BPM Media
A cordoned-off area at the club in Digbeth - Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live/BPM Media

Detectives are viewing CCTV from the nightclub and have urged anyone who was in the area to get in touch. Neighbourhood officers will be patrolling the area over the coming days to offer reassurance, police said.

In a post on social media, Crane said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened that a man lost his life last night as our Boxing Day event came to a close.

“We are working closely with West Midlands Police as they investigate this crime. We encourage anybody who witnessed this incident, or has any information to share which may help West Midlands Police, to contact them directly.”

The club has cancelled its New Year’s Eve event in the wake of the attack. The scene remains closed while evidence is gathered, police said.

A spokesman for Crane said: “We have a thorough search policy in place for any and all patrons entering and leaving the venue. This includes the deployment of metal detectors, pat downs, pocket checks, wallet inspections, bag searches and age verification procedures. Searches are conducted in accordance with SIA guidance and best practice.

“The venue is patrolled by SIA security staff whom responded to the incident as it unfolded on the night. The relevant CCTV footage is with West Midlands Police, and we are working closely with any requests to assist them with their enquiries.

“On Boxing Day, we had an onsite paramedic-led team, as per our venue policy, who arrived at the scene quickly to administer first aid to the victim until the arrival of the Ambulance Service.

“We would like extend deepest condolences to the family, friends and anyone else affected by this tragedy. We will continue to work closely with West Midlands Police.”

The Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club website on Tuesday night paid tribute saying: “All of us are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Cody Fisher. Cody, was a friend to many at the club and we send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”