The nightclub where a non-league footballer was stabbed to death has had its licence suspended as police revealed "chaotic" scenes of staff clearing drugs from the dancefloor while the victim lay dying.
Cody Fisher, 23, was knifed while enjoying a night out at the popular Crane nightclub in Adderley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, on Boxing Day.
Police and paramedics scrambled to the warehouse-sized nightspot at 11.45pm but despite desperate attempts to save Cody, he died 30 minutes later.
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Birmingham City Council Licensing Sub-Committee today (Fri) suspended Crane’s licence to operate as a nightclub or sell alcohol pending a review.
In a statement to the committee, Superintendent Sally Simpson, of West Midlands
Police, said: “Officers who originally attended the premise described a scene in chaos and evidence of drugs use within the premise.
“On entry to the premises officers were asked by security to help with crowd control, which they said no, and ran in to commence CPR and assist the paramedics on the scene.
“On body-worn you will see staff wandering around all over the place like they're oblivious to what is happening.
“Further to this, they have started to clean the dancefloor further down from where the deceased was, officers shouted at them to stop.
“Whilst officers are doing CPR, you can see people just wandering around in the scene freely.
“As soon as we had more officers at the scene they were removed and the whole dancefloor was cordoned off and the area was made sterile.
“There were hundreds of small drug bags and nitrous oxide canisters all over the floor.
"These included the small and very large nitrous oxide canisters with balloons.
“West Midlands Police are concerned as to how a knife has been able to get inside the premises.
“Any control measures the premises may have had were found ineffective.
“This is compounded by the fact officers have seen evidence of drug use within the venue, which was openly on the dance floor.
“Also, the chaos noted by officers, with staff seemingly having no idea how to manage the situation or preserve the scene, again pointing towards lack or poor control measures and training.”
Committee chair councillor Diane Donaldson said: “Having considered the application made by West Midlands Police under Section 53A of the Licensing Act 2003 for an expedited review of the premises licence held by Digital Arts Ltd, this sub-committee hearby determines that the licence be suspended pending the full review hearing held within 28 days.”
Damian Eston, 41, is director of Digital Arts Media Ltd, which is the premises licence holder for the 3,500-people Crane nightclub.
Mr Eston, who lives in a sprawling £500,000 detached house in Atherstone, Warks., was present at the virtual meeting but only spoke through his solicitor.
Barrister Duncan Craig, representing Crane, said his client would not be opposing the application to suspend the club’s licence.
He told the committee: “We’re here under some horrific circumstances.
“I received a WhatsApp message from my client [Mr Eston] on the morning of the 27th and it was made clear to me at that time that there was no intention of reopening on New Year’s Eve.”
He added that his client had "one or two issues" with "some of the matters that were asserted in the review application" raised by police.
The details were not made public but Mr Craig said a 28-day review period would provide an opportunity to "develop a better understanding of what happened on that dreadful night".