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O2 Academy crush detectives renew appeal for footage of the tragedy as part of investigation

The O2 Academy Brixton has had its licence temporarily suspended after two people died in a crowd crush at the venue (PA Wire)
The O2 Academy Brixton has had its licence temporarily suspended after two people died in a crowd crush at the venue (PA Wire)

Detectives investigating a fatal crowd crush at the O2 Brixton Academy have issued a fresh appeal for evidence - as a 21-year-old woman remains critically ill in hospital more than a fortnight after the tragedy.

Two people died following the tragedy at the south London venue, which happened when ticketless fans tried to get into a show by Nigerian artist Asake on Thursday, December 15.

A number of people sustained serious injuries and were treated at the scene by staff, police and paramedics, but two of those most badly injured later died in hospital.

Mother-of-two and nursing graduate Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, from Newham, died two days after the crush while security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, died two days later.

Gaby Hutchinson was the second person to have died after the crowd crush at the O2 Brixton Academy (PA Wire)
Gaby Hutchinson was the second person to have died after the crowd crush at the O2 Brixton Academy (PA Wire)

A 21-year-old woman who was also injured in the incident remains in a critical condition.

Police say all three were in the foyer of the venue - which has since had its licence temporarily suspended - when the crush occurred.

Officers were first called to the O2 shortly after 9pm on December 15 following reports a large crowd had gathered outside, and the first crew arrived on scene soon after.

A further call was made at 9.35pm reporting that people were attempting to force entry into the building.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, who died following the crowd crush outside an Asake concert (PA Wire)
Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, who died following the crowd crush outside an Asake concert (PA Wire)

Scotland Yard on Friday renewed an appeal for photos and video from the event, as detectives undergo a “large and complex” investigation and work to piece together what happened.

Detective Superintendent Dave Kennett, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “A team of detectives who specialise in complex investigations are working to establish exactly what happened before and during this incident.

“As part of that investigation we are carrying out a comprehensive analysis of any available CCTV footage but we are also very keen to obtain and view any other footage filmed on the night.

“We know from some videos shared on social media immediately after the incident that there were many people caught up in the crowds outside, in the entrances and in the atrium of the venue. Some of those people had their phones out and were likely filming or taking photos.

“That footage or those images could include detail that will help us to better piece together exactly what took place and why.

“Two people have died and a third is still very seriously injured and we owe it to them, their families and anyone else affected by this incident to do leave no stone unturned.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The O2’s licence was suspended on December 22 by Lambeth council until a full hearing to decide its future can be held on January 16, following a request by the Met Police.

Explaining the decision, Cllr Fred Cowell, chair of the council’s licensing sub committee said: “Given the severity of events of December 15, the risks to public safety as a consequence of serious disorder arising from a lack of crowd control at the front doors of the venue remain high if the venue was able to operate as before.”

In a report presented to the licensing committee, police wrote: “Upon arrival at the venue it was apparent to officers that security staff had completely lost control in regards to crowd control.

“Crowds had forcibly breached the doors of the venue and were seen in large numbers to be forcing their way into the event.

Crowd crush aftermath at Brixton O2 Academy

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“Many people were crushed by the sheer force of the crowd and many were injured, some seriously.”

The committee also heard details of an earlier incident in February 2020 where crowds again pushed up against the front doors.

Scotland Yard urges anyone with information to call police the police non-emergency number on 101, providing the reference 6725/15DEC.

Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org. They are independent of the police, they do not ask for your name, trace your number of your IP address. Anonymity is guaranteed.

The Met has also set up a dedicated page for the investigation here, where photos and video footage can be uploaded.